Guieb vs. Fontanilla, 247 SCRA 348, Aug. 14, 1995
The petitioner and the private respondent Manuel Asuncion, were candidates for the position of Punong Barangay of Barangay Nilombot, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, in the barangay election of May 9, 1994. The former was proclaimed as the winning candidate then the latter filed an election protest with the MTC of Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan. On May 27, 1994, the MTC confirmed the proclamation of the petitioner and dismissed the protest of the private respondent. The private respondent then appealed the decision to the RTC of Dagupan City. In its decision of August 31, 1994, RTC reversed the decision of the MTC. On November 25, 1994, the private respondent immediately filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution. RTC declared that the motion should be properly filed with the court of origin and that the decision of 3August 31, 1994 had already become final. On December 12, 1994, the petitioner filed with this Court a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review on certiorari which was denied because of his failure to submit an affidavit of service of that motion. On February 8, 1995, he filed a motion for reconsideration of the denial. Meanwhile, on December 20, 1994, the private respondent filed with the MTC a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution. MTC deferred action on the said motion and required the petitioner's counsel to inform the court of the status of his petition with this Court but the latter failed to comply with the said order, so the court issued an order on granting the issuance of a writ of execution. However, the court received the said counsel's Compliance later on, wherein he informed the court of the petitioner's motion to reconsider this Court's resolution denying the motion for extension of time to file his petition. In a resolution the Court required the respondent to comment on the petition. The petitioner filed with the MTC an Urgent Motion to Stay and/or Suspend Execution which was denied on the ground that the writ must have already been implemented and, therefore, the motion to stay or suspend the same has become moot and academic. The sheriff returned the writ of execution with the information that he enforced the writ and proclaimed the private respondent as Punong Barangay of Barangay Nilombot, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan.
ISSUE: Whether or not RTC has a jurisdiction over this case.
No. Under Article IX, Section 2, Paragraph 2-C of the Constitution, it is the COMELEC, and not the Regional Trial Courts, that has exclusive jurisdiction over all contests involving elective barangay officials decided by courts of limited jurisdiction, which are the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.
MALALUAN V. COMELEC
Luis Malaluan and Jose Evangelista were both mayoralty candidates on the municipality of Kidapawan, North Cotabato. Evangelista was proclaimed by the Municipal Board off Canvassers as duly elected mayor. Malaluan filed an election protest with the RTC. RTC declared Malaluan as the duly elected mayor. Evangelista appealed the decision to the COMELEC. Malaluan filed a motion for execution pending appeal which was grabned by the RTC. Thus, Malaluan assumed the office of municipal mayor 1st Division COMELEC ordered Malaluan to vacate the office having found that Evangelista was the duly elected mayor. COMELEC en banc affirmed. Malaluan filed this petition. The term expired June 30,1995. Petition has become moot. However, question as to damages is ripe for adjudication. Claimed as part of the damages to which Evangelista is allegedly entitled to is the salary that would have accrued to him had there been no execution of the RTC’s decision pending appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not Malaluan is a usurper and should pay the damages and salaries to Evangelista.
NO. Malaluan is not a usurper because a usurper is one who undertakes to act officially w/o and color of right, while Malaluan exercised the duties of an elective office under color of election thereto. Malaluan is a de facto officer who in good faith has had possession of the office and had discharged the duties pertaining thereto and is therefore legally entitled to the emoluments of the office. The long-standing rule is that notwithstanding subsequent ouster as a result of an election protest, an elective official who has been proclaimed by the COMELEC as into the performance of the duties of that office is entitled to the compensation legally provided for the position. This is in keeping with the ordinary course of events. The emolument must go to the person who rendered the service unless the contrary is proved. Criterion for a justifiable award of election protest expenses ans salaries remains to be the existence of a pertinent breach of obligations arising from k, quasi-k, tortious acts, crimes, or a specific legal provision authorizing the money claim. The 1st Division COMELEC reasoned that Evangelista was the one elected, he was ousted not by final judgment but by an order of execution pending appeal which was groundless; that Malaluan occupied the position in an illegal manner as a usurper and that he had no right to the salaries of the office. However, there is no pertinent breach of obligations arising from k, quasi-k, tortious acts, crimes that can be attributed to Malaluan nor did Evangelista point out a specific legal provision authorizing the money claim that Malaluan was proclaimed winner by the RTC and not by COMELEC is of no moment since it is a well-settled rule that “as much recognition should be given to the value of the decision of a judicial body as a basis for the right to assume office as that given by law to the proclamation made by the Board of Canvassers.” The damage may be said to be damnum absque injuria= damage inflicted without injustice or without violation of a legal right for which the law provides no remedy.
Jaramilla vs. Commission on Elections GR 155717, 23 October 2003 En Banc, Azcuna (J):
Antonio Suyat and Alberto J. Jaramilla both ran for the position of Member of the SangguniangBayan in the Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur in the 14 May 2001 elections. On 16 May 2001, theMunicipal Board of Canvassers of Sta. Cruz, proclaimed the winning candidates for the offices of Mayor,Vice Mayor and 8 members of the Sangguniang Bayan. The Certificate of Canvass of Votes andProclamation shows the following results and ranking with respect to the members of the SangguniangBayan, to wit: (1) RAGUCOS, Ma. Luisa Laxamana (6,324); (2) ABAYA, Juan Jr., Andaquig (6,013);(3) GINES, Fidel Cudiamat (5,789); (4) QUILOP, Renato Avila (5,227); (5) BILIGAN, Osias Depdepen(5,130); (6) RUIZ, Agustin Turgano (4,972); (7) JARAMILLA, Alberto Jimeno (4,815); and (8)CORTEZ, Ireneo Habon (4,807). In the tabulated results issued by the Election Officer and Chairpersonof the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Sta. Cruz, it is shown that Suyat obtained 4,779 votes and wasranked 9. Upon review by Suyat, he discovered that Jaramilla was credited with only 23 votes per Election Return from Precinct 34A1. However, when the figures were forwarded to the Statement of Votes by Precinct, Jaramilla was credited with 73 votes for Precinct 34A1 or 50 votes more than what heactually obtained. If the entry were to be corrected, the affected candidates would be ranked as follows:(7) CORTEZ, Ireneo Habon (4,807); (8) SUYAT, Antonio (4,779); and (9) JARAMILLA, Alberto(4,765). On 13 June 2001, Suyat filed before the COMELEC en banc an Urgent Motion for Issuance of Order to Reconvene, which the latter treated as a Petition for Correction of Manifest Error. Jaramillacountered in his Answer that said petition should be dismissed for having been filed out of time and for lack of the required certification of non-forum shopping. On 24 October 2002, COMELEC en banc issued a resolution, annulling the proclamation of Jaramilla and creating a new Municipal Board of Canvassers Jaramilla filed the petition for certiorari with prayer for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction ascribing grave abuse of discretion.
ISSUE: Whether the Commission on Elections en banc properly assumed original jurisdiction over the Petition for Correction of Manifest Errors.
Article IX-C of the Constitution states in part that "The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies. All such election cases shall be heard and decided in division, provided that motions for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc." As stated in the provision, and in line with the Court’s recent pronouncement in Milla v. Balmores- Laxa, election cases including pre-proclamation controversies should first be heard anddecided by a division of the COMELEC, and then by the commission en banc if a motion for reconsideration of the division is filed. It must be noted however that this provision applies only cases where the COMELEC exercises its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers, and not when it merely exercises purely administrative functions. This doctrine was laid out in Castromayor v. COMELEC, and reiterated in subsequent cases. Accordingly, when the case demands only the exercise by the COMELEC of its administrative functions, such as the correction of a manifest mistake in the addition of votes or an erroneous tabulation in the statement of votes, the COMELEC en banc can directly act on it in the exercise of its constitutional function to decide questions affecting elections. Herein, the Petition for Correction of Manifest Errors alleges an erroneous copying of figures from the election return to the Statement of Votes by Precinct. Such an error in the tabulation of the results, which merely requires a clerical correction without the necessity of opening ballot boxes or examining ballots, demands only theexercise of the administrative power of the COMELEC. Hence, the Commission en banc properlyassumed original jurisdiction over the aforesaid petition.
Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) filed before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) a petition to proclaim the full number of party list representatives provided by the Constitution. However, the recommendation of the head of the legal group of COMELEC’s national board of canvassers to declare the petition moot and academic was approved by the COMELEC en banc, and declared further in a resolution that the winning party list will be resolved using the Veterans ruling. BANAT then filed a petition before the SC assailing said resolution of the COMELEC.
(1) Is the 20% allocation for party-list representatives provided in Sec 5 (2), Art VI of the Constitution mandatory or is it merely a ceiling?
(2) Is the 2% threshold and “qualifier” votes prescribed by the same Sec 11 (b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
(3) Does the Constitution prohibit major political parties from participating in the party-list elections? If not, can major political parties participate in the party-list elections?
(1) Neither the Constitution nor RA 7941 mandates the filling up of the entire 20% allocation of party-list representatives found in the Constitution. The Constitution, in paragraph 1, Sec 5 of Art VI, left the determination of the number of the members of the House of Representatives to Congress. The 20% allocation of party-list representatives is merely a ceiling; party-list representatives cannot be more then 20% of the members of the House of Representatives.
(2) No. It was ruled that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued operation of the two percent threshold for the distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Sec 11(b) of RA 7941 is unconstitutional. This Court finds that the two percent threshold makes it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of available party-list seats when the available party-list seat exceeds 50. The continued operation of the two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of Representatives shall consist of party-list representatives.We therefore strike down the two percent threshold only in relation to the distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Sec 11 (b) of RA 7941. The two percent threshold presents an unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of Sec 5 (2) Art VI of the Constitution and prevents the attainment of “the-broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives.”
(3) No. Neither the Constitution nor RA 7941 prohibits major political parties from participating in the party-list system. On the contrary, the framers of the Constitution clearly intended the major political parties to participate in party-list elections through their sectoral wings. However, by vote of 8-7, the Court decided to continue the ruling in Veterans disallowing major political parties from participating in the party-list elections, directly or indirectly.