Bar Q and A #37

According to Section 243 of the Omnibus Election Code, the following issues can be properly raised:

a. The composition or proceedings of the board of canvassers are illegal;
b. The canvassed election returns are incomplete, contain material defects, approved to be tampered with, or contain discrepancy in the same returns or in other authenticated copies;
c. The election returns were prepared under duress, threats, coercion, or intimidation, or they are obviously manufactured or not authentic; and
d. Substitute or fraudulent returns in controverter polling places were canvassed, the results of which materially affected the standing of the aggrieved candidate or candidates.

However, according to Section 15 of the Synchronized Election Law, no pre- proclamation cases shall be allowed on matters relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of the election returns or the certificates of canvass with respect to the positions of President, Vice- President, Senator and Member of the House of Representatives. No pre-proclamation case is allowed in the case of barangay elections.

An ELECTION PROTEST maybe filed by a losing candidate for the same office for which the winner filed his certificate of candidacy. A QUO WARRANTO CASE may be filed by any voter who is a registered voter in the constituency where the winning candidate sought to be disqualified ran for office.

In an election contest, the issues are: (a) who received the majority or plurality of the votes which were legally cast and (b) whether there were irregularities in the conduct of the election which affected its results.

In a quo warranto case, the issue is whether the candidate who was proclaimed elected should be disqualified because of ineligibility or disloyalty to the Philippines.

According to Trinidad v. COMELEC, 315 SCRA 175 (1999), if the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is disqualified, the candidate who obtained the second-highest number of votes cannot be proclaimed the winner. Since he was not the choice of the people, he cannot claim any right to the office.

However, the alleged "second-placer," should be proclaimed if the certificate of candidacy was void ab initio. In short, the winner was never a candidate at all and all votes were stray votes. Thus, the second-placer is the only qualified candidate who actually garnered the highest number of votes (Tea v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 195229 [2012]).

a. I shall advice Abdul that he cannot run for Vice- Governor of Tawi-Tawi in the May 2010 elections. His second term should be counted as a full term served in contemplation of the three- term limit prescribed by Section 8, Article X of the Constitution. Since the election protest against him was decided after the term of the contested office had expire, it had no practical and legal use and value. (Ong v. Alegre, 479 SCRA 473)

b. I shall advise Abdul that his wife cannot be nominated as substitute candidate for Vice- Governor of Tawi-Tawi. The denial of due course and cancellation of a certificate of candidacy is not one of the cases in which a candidate may be validly substituted. A cancelled certificate does not give rise to a valid candidacy. Under Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code, a valid candidacy is an indispensable requisite in case of a substitution of a disqualified candidate. (Miranda v. Abaya 311 SCRA 617)

(a) The RTC does not have jurisdiction over the case filed by Mr. A. COMELEC has jurisdiction over an election contest between a losing gubernatorial candidate and a proclaimed winner of the gubernatorial post. [Section 2(2), Article IX-C, 1987 CONST.]

(b) The MTC does not have jurisdiction over the case filed by Mr. B. The RTC has jurisdiction over an election contest between a losing municipal mayoralty candidate and a proclaimed municipal mayor. [Section 2(2), Article IX-C, 1987 CONST.]

(a) Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens. [Art. IV, Sec. 2, 1987 Const.]

On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those who acquire Philippine Citizenship through either: 1) Judicial naturalization under CA 473 or
2) Administrative Naturalization Law (R.A. 9139). A third option is Derivative Naturalization, which is available to alien women married to Filipino husbands found under section 15 of CA 473 which provides that: “Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines and who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines.”

(b) No, X is not qualified to run for Congress. The Constitution prescribes that no person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines [Art. VI, Sec. 6, 1987 Const]. In this case, X is a naturalized citizen and is thus not qualified to run for Congress.

(c) No, COMELEC maintains its jurisdiction over the matter. To divest the COMELEC of jurisdiction over election cases of Members of the House of Representatives, the following requisites must concur:

1. Valid Proclamation;
2. Valid oath; and
3. Assumption of office on June 30.

Thus, the mere proclamation of X does not yet transfer jurisdiction from the COMELEC to the HRET. [Reyes v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 207264, October 22, 2013]

(a) Yes, the Ombudsman erred in not giving credence to the defense. Although in Carpio- Morales v Court of Appeals abandoned the condonation doctrine, the Supreme Court also pronounced that such ruling may not be applied retroactively, for the reason that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution, until reversed, shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines. Considering that the acts of Mayor X were committed in 2013, before the Carpio-Morales case, Mayor X can still validly invoke the condonation doctrine. (Office of the Ombudsman v Vergara, G.R. No. 216871, December 6, 2017).

(b) No, the condonation doctrine only applies to elective officials. Y, being the City Administrator, is an appointive official and can therefore not validly invoke the doctrine. (Carpio-Morales v Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 217126-27, November 10, 2015).

In quo warranto in elective officer, the issue is the ineligibility of the elected candidate (Section 3(E), Rule 1, Rules Of Procedure In Election Cases). If he is ineligible, the candidate who got the second highest number of votes cannot be proclaimed elected (Sinsuat
v. COMELEC, 492 Scra 264). A voter may file for quo warranto against an elected candidate. The petition should be filed within ten days after the proclamation of the elected candidate.

In quo warranto in appointive office, the issue is the legality of the appointment. The court will decide who between the parties has the legal title to the office (Nachura, Outline Reviewers in Political Law, P. 567). It is the Solicitor General, a public prosecutor, or a person claiming to be entitled to the public office who can file a petition for quo warranto against an appointive official (Section 2 And 5, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court). The petition should be filed within one year after the cause of action accrued (Section 11, Rules 66 of the Rules of Court)

The following are the main sources of revenues of local government units under the constitution:

a. Taxes, fees, and charges. (Section 5, Article X)
b. Share in the national taxes. (Section 6, Article X)
c. Share in the proceeds of the utilizations and development of the national wealth within their areas. (Section 7, Article X)