Friday, February 12, 2016

x x x The electoral aspect of a disqualification case determines whether the offender should be disqualified from being a candidate or from holding office. Proceedings are summary in character and require only clear preponderance of evidence. An erring candidate may be disqualified even without prior determination of probable cause in a preliminary investigation. The electoral aspect may proceed independently of the criminal aspect, and vice-versa.

The criminal aspect of a disqualification case determines whether there is probable cause to charge a candidate for an election offense. The prosecutor is the COMELEC, through its Law Department, which determines whether probable cause exists. If there is probable cause, the COMELEC, through its Law Department, files the criminal information before the proper court. Proceedings before the proper court demand a full-blown hearing and require proof beyond reasonable doubt to convict. A criminal conviction shall result in the disqualification of the offender, which may even include disqualification from holding a future public office.

The two aspects account for the variance of the rules on disposition and resolution of disqualification cases filed before or after an election. When the disqualification case is filed before the elections, the question of disqualification is raised before the voting public. If the candidate is disqualified after the election, those who voted for him assume the risk that their votes may be declared stray or invalid. There is no such risk if the petition is filed after the elections. x x x.[66]

[ G.R. No. 212398, November 25, 2014 ]


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