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G.R. No. 48018   February  1, 1941 - NOE AGADO, ET AL. v. ALEJO LABRADOR, ET AL. <br /><br />071 Phil 243

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 48018. February 1, 1941.]

NOE AGADO, ET AL., Petitioners, v. ALEJO LABRADOR, Judge of First Instance of Rizal, and PRUDENCIO S. DEL ROSARIO, Respondents.

Vicente J. Francisco, Celestino de Dios, and Vicente & Tolentino, for Petitioners.

Jose P. Osorio and Angel B. Cruz, for respondent Prudencio S. del Rosario.

SYLLABUS


1. ELECTIONS; VOTE CAST IN SAN LAZARO LEPROSARIUM; SECTION 12 OF ELECTION CODE. — The explicit purpose of the requirement that the statement of the result shall be transmitted by telegraph to the municipal treasurer, the provincial treasurer and the Secretary of the Interior is to have such result "included in the final computation of the votes." This final computation can mean no other than the computation lastly made by the board of canvassers, and not merely the computation made by the board of inspectors in the only precinct or precinct No. 1 of a given municipality. This construction i8 supported by the requirement that, aside from the telegraphic notice provided by the first paragraph of section 12, the officer conducting the voting in a leprosarium is also required to send to the municipal treasurer, the provincial treasurer and the Secretary of the Interior certified copies of the statement of election by rush and registered mail. If said "final computation was really intended to refer to the canvass of the votes made by the board of inspectors, the provision in the first paragraph of section 12 requiring the sending of certified copies of the statement of election by rush and registered mail would be superfluous, inasmuch as the inclusion of the votes cast in a leprosarium in the canvass made by the board of inspectors is conditioned upon the receipt by said board of a certified copy of a telegraphic notice before the result of its canvass is proclaimed. The first and second paragraphs of section 12 of the Election Code should be harmonized and given an interpretation which would carry into effect the evident legislative purpose.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — In the instant case it appears that at the meeting of the municipal board of canvassers for San Mateo held on December 14, 1940, for the purpose of canvassing the returns for the said municipality, the said board failed to include in its canvass the vote cash in the San Lazaro Leprosarium for P. S. del R., which vote was duly accredited by the certificate of canvass then before the said board of canvassers and thereby defaulted in its ministerial duty (Dizon v. Provincial Board of Canvassers of Laguna, 62 Phil., 47) of counting "the votes cast for each municipal office" (sec. 162, Election Code). The mandamus proceedings instituted in the Court of First Instance of Rizal by P. S. del R. against the municipal board of canvassers were appropriate, it being the better doctrine "that after canvassers have made one canvass, declared the result and adjourned they may be compelled by ’mandamus’ to reassemble and make a correct canvass of all the returns where it appears that upon the first canvass they neglected or refused fully to perform their duties." (Blaquesa v. Municipal Council of Lagangilang, G. R. No. 16092, December 17, 1920, quoting 16 CYC., P. 379 et seq.) .


D E C I S I O N


LAUREL, J.:


In the general election held on December 10, 1940, Prudencio S. del Rosario and Cesar Santos were the rival candidates for the office of mayor of the municipality of San Mateo, Province of Rizal. In accordance with section 12 of the Election Code, voting was held in the San Lazaro Leprosarium, Manila, under the supervision of the Executive Judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Manila. A canvass of the votes cast by the lepers in said leprosarium for the municipality of San Mateo showed that Prudencio S. del Rosario received one vote for the office of municipal mayor. The counting of the votes cast for the municipality of San Mateo in the said leprosarium ended at about 3 o’clock in the morning of December 11, 1940. Immediately thereafter the Executive Judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Manila made the corresponding statement of election and filed with the Bureau of Posts a telegram addressed to the municipal treasurer of San Mateo, stating that according to the results of the voting held at the San Lazaro Leprosarium, one vote was cast for Prudencio S. del Rosario for the office of mayor of, the municipality of San Mateo. This telegram was received by the municipal treasurer of San Mateo at about 10 o’clock in the morning of December 11, 1940; whereupon the municipal treasurer furnished the chairman of the board of election inspectors for precinct No. 1 of San Mateo with a certified copy of said telegram. By that time, however, the said board of inspectors had already finished counting the votes and made the corresponding proclamation of the results of its canvass, with the result that the vote set forth in the aforesaid telegram was not included in the return made for said precinct No. 1. On December 14, 1940, at 1:30 o’clock in the afternoon, a meeting of the municipal board of canvassers for San Mateo was held for the purpose of canvassing the returns from the different precincts in said municipality, at which meeting the municipal treasurer furnished said board of canvassers with all the election returns, as well as with a copy of the statement of election received by him from the Executive Judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Manila. In the canvass made by the municipal board of canvassers the vote cast in the San Lazaro Leprosarium for Prudencio S. del Rosario was not included, with the result that said board of canvassers found that Prudencio S. del Rosario and his rival, Cesar Santos, each received 954 votes. Evidently, the reason for the refusal of the board of canvassers to include the vote cast in the San Lazaro Leprosarium in favor of Prudencio S. del Rosario was that said vote had not been included in the return from precinct No. 1. Accordingly, the board of canvassers announced that the two candidates, Prudencio S. del Rosario and Cesar Santos, each received 954 votes, and since there was a tie for the office of mayor, the drawing of the lots by the tied candidates was scheduled to take place in the public plaza on December 26, 1940, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It appears that after the adjournment of the meeting of the board of canvassers, the latter, in the absence of Prudencio S. del Rosario who had already left, reconvened and proceeded to adopt another resolution fixing the date of the drawing of the lots for December 16, 1940, instead of December 25, 1940. Of this latter resolution Prudencio S. del Rosario did not actually receive notice. On December 16, 1940, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the drawing of the lots to break the tie between Prudencio S. del Rosario and Cesar Santos took place, in the absence of Prudencio S. del Rosario. In this lottery Cesar Santos won and was proclaimed by the board of canvassers mayor-elect of the municipality of San Mateo. Forthwith, Prudencio S. del Rosario filed in the Court of First Instance of Rizal a petition against the board of inspectors in precinct No. 1 and against the board of canvassers of the municipality of San Mateo (civil case No. 7937, entitled "Prudencio S. del Rosario, Petitioner, v. Leonardo Beltran Et. Al., respondents"), praying that said board of canvassers be ordered to refrain from holding the canvass of the returns from the different precincts of San Mateo, and that said board of inspectors be authorized to alter or modify the election return of precinct No. 1 by including the vote cast in favor of Prudencio S. del Rosario in the San Lazaro Leprorarium. Inasmuch as it later appeared that, at the time of the filing of the aforesaid petition the drawing of the lots had already taken place with the result above noted, the Court of First Instance of Rizal, in the course of the hearing, ordered Prudencio S. del Rosario to make, as he in fact made, the corresponding amendments in his petition. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Rizal, presided over by Judge Alejo Labrador, under date of December 28, 1940, rendered judgment the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"For all the foregoing considerations, the canvass of votes held by the respondent municipal board of canvassers of San Mateo, Rizal, on December 14, 1940, and the subsequent proceedings adopted by them on December 16,1940, in drawing lots for the determination of the winner as between the two candidates for mayor who had supposedly tied, are hereby declared illegal, and the certificate issued by them declaring a tie vote for the office of mayor and that declaring Cesar Santos elected at the drawing of the lots are hereby declared null and void, and it is hereby ordered that the said respondent municipal board of canvassers immediately convene for the purpose of making another canvass and including therein the return from the San Lazaro Leprosarium, Manila, or the certificate of the Executive Judge of the Municipal Court of Manila of the results of the voting held in San Lazaro Leprosarium, Manila, for the municipality of San Mateo, Rizal, Exhibit C. No cause of action having been shown against the respondent board of election inspectors of Precinct No. 1, San Mateo, Rizal, the petition is hereby dismissed with respect to the said respondents without costs. The respondent municipal board of canvassers should Pay the costs."cralaw virtua1aw library

Whereupon, the present Petition for certiorari was filed in this court by the petitioners, as members of the board of canvassers for the municipality of San Mateo, against the respondents, Judge Alejo Labrador and Prudencio S. del Rosario, for the purpose of having this court review and thereafter set aside the judgment rendered by the respondent judge in civil case No. 7937, with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the herein respondents, which writ of preliminary injunction was issued by this court upon the filing by the petitioners of a bond in the amount of P200.

The principal question presented here is whether or not the respondent judge erred or exceeded his jurisdiction in ordering the board of canvassers of San Mateo to re assemble and make another statement of election with a view to including therein the vote cast for the respondent Prudencio S. del Rosario in the San Lazaro Leprosarium. The petitioners raise the point that said vote cannot be included in the canvass because the telegram of the Executive Judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Manila was received by the board of inspectors in precinct No. 1 after the latter had proclaimed the result of its canvass, reliance being placed on the second paragraph of section 12 of the Election Code which reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The municipal treasurer shall immediately transmit a certified copy of the telegram to the only election precinct or precinct No. 1 of the municipality, and the board of inspectors shall include in its canvass the votes set forth in the telegram, provided the same is received by the board before the result of the canvass is proclaimed."cralaw virtua1aw library

Viewed solely in the light of the above-quoted provision, the contention seems plausible; but considered in conjunction with the first paragraph of section 12 of the Election Code, herein below copied, the contention loses merit.

"On the day of the voting, said voters shall vote in the leprosarium before the justice of the peace, for which purpose said officer shall be at the leprosarium at seven o’clock in the morning of that day to receive the votes of the voters of the same, and at two o’clock in the afternoon or as soon as the voters who desire to vote have finished voting, shall make a canvass and prepare a statement l)f the result thereof, transmitting such result by telegraph, at six o’clock in the evening of the day of the voting, or soon after the canvass as possible, to the municipal treasurer of the corresponding municipality, to the provincial treasurer and to the Secretary of the Interior, so that it may be included in the final computation of the votes, and at the same time he shall send to said officers certified copies of the statement by rush and registered mail."cralaw virtua1aw library

The explicit purpose of the requirements that the statement of the result shall be transmitted by telegraph to the municipal treasurer, the provincial treasurer and the Secretary of the Interior is to have such result "included in the final computation of the votes." This final computation can mean no other than the computation lastly made be the board of canvassers, and not merely the computation made by the board of inspectors in the only precinct or precinct No. 1 of a given municipality. This construction is supported by the requirement that, aside from the telegraphic notice provided by the first paragraph of section 12, the officer conducting the voting in a leprosarium is also required to send to the municipal treasurer, the provincial treasurer and the Secretary of the Interior certified copies of the statement of election by rush and registered mail. If said "final computation" was really intended to refer to the canvass of the votes made by the board of inspectors, the provision in the first paragraph of section 12 requiring the sending of certified copies of the statement of election by rush and registered mail would be superfluous, inasmuch as the inclusion of the votes cast in a leprosarium in the canvass made by the board of inspectors is conditioned upon the receipt by said board of a certified copy of a telegraphic notice before the result of its canvass is proclaimed. The first and second paragraphs of section 12 of the Election Code should be harmonized and given an interpretation which would carry into effect the evident legislative purpose. In case a certified copy of the telegraphic notice referred to in the first paragraph is received by the board of inspectors of the only election precinct or precinct No. 1 of the municipality before the result of its canvass i8 proclaimed, the said board shall include in its canvass the votes set forth in the telegram, and said votes will naturally be included in the final computation of the votes by the board of canvassers. In case such telegraphic notice is not received by the board of inspectors on time, the votes set forth in the telegraphic notice can not of course be included in its canvass, but where, as in the present case, at the board of canvassers’ meeting for the purpose, it was furnished not only the telegram but also with the statement of election received by the municipal treasurer from the judicial officer that ducted the election in the leprosarium, said votes should be included in the final computation of the votes There is certainly weight in the statement contained in the decision of the respondent judge that the law could not have intended to condition the right of a leper to vote upon the timely receipt by the board of inspectors in the only election precinct of a municipality of a telegraphic notice.

The petitioner contends that the respondent judge erred in ordering the inclusion of the vote cast in the San Lazaro Leprosarium for Prudencio S. del Rosario because said vote is illegal on the ground that the person who cast it was not a voter duly registered in the electoral census of precinct No. 1 of San Mateo. The question thus propounded is not a proper subject of inquiry in the proceedings instituted by Prudencio S. del Rosario in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, civil case No. 7937, for the reason that, as stated in Dizon v. Provincial Board of Canvassers of Laguna, 52 Phil., 47, B7-58, quoting 9 Ruling Case Law, p. 1110:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The board of official canvassers to whom the boards of election of the several divisions return their certificate showing the number of votes cast for each candidate, is liable to err in overestimating its powers. Whenever it is suggested that illegal votes have been received or that there were other fraudulent practices at the election, it is apt to imagine that it is its duty to inquire into these alleged frauds and to decide on the legality of the votes. Its duty, however, is almost wholly ministerial to take the returns as made from the different voting precinct, add them up, and declare the result. Questions of illegal voting and fraudulent practices are passed on by another tribunal. The canvassers are to be satisfied of the genuineness of the returns, that is, that the papers presented to them are not forged and spurious, that they are returns, and are signed by the proper officers; but when so satisfied they may not reject any returns because of informalities in them or because of illegal and fraudulent practices in the elections. The simple purpose and duty of the canvassing board is to ascertain and declare the apparent result of the voting. All other question are to be tried before the court or other tribunal for contesting elections or in quo warranto proceedings."cralaw virtua1aw library

The principle above expressed finds expression in section 162 of the Election Code which provides, among other things, that the "municipal board of canvassers shall not recount the ballots nor examine any of them, but shall proceed upon the statement presented to it."cralaw virtua1aw library

In the instant case it appears that at the meeting of the municipal board of canvassers for San Mateo held on December 14, 1940, for the purpose of canvassing the returns for the said municipality, the said board failed to include in its canvass the vote cast in the San Lazaro Leprosarium for Prudencio S. del Rosario, which vote was duly accredited by the certificate of canvass then before the said board of canvassers and thereby defaulted in its ministerial duty (Dizon v. Provincial Board of Canvassers of Laguna (supra) of counting "the votes cast for each municipal office" (section 162, Election Code). The mandamus proceedings instituted in the Court of First Instance of Rizal by Prudencio S. del Rosario against the municipal board of canvassers were appropriate, it being the better doctrine "that after canvassers have made one canvass, declared the result and adjourned they may be compelled by "mandamus" to reassemble and make a correct canvas they neglected or refused fully to perform their duties." (Blaquesa v. Municipal Council of Langangilang, Et Al., G. R. No. 16092, December 17, 1920, quoting 15 (Cyc., p. 379 et seq.)

Wherefore, affirming the judgment of the respondent judge, the present petition for certiorari will be, as the same is hereby, dismissed, without pronouncement regarding costs. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Imperial, Diaz and Moran, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions


HORRILLENO, M., disidente:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Se trata de un recurso de certiorari promovido por Noe Amado y otros contra el Honorable Alejo Labrador, como Juez del Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Rizal, y Prudencio S. del Rosario. Dio lugar a este recurso la sentencia dictada por el Honorable Juez recurrido en un asunto de mandamus incoado por Prudencio S. del Rosario, solicitante, contra Leonardo Beltran y otros, recurridos (causa civil No. 7937 del Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Rizal.)

Los hechos pertinentes al caso se reducen a los siguientes:" Cesar Santos y el recurrido Prudencio S. del Rosario eran candidatos al cargo de alcalde del municipio de San Mateo, Rizal, en las elecciones del 10 de diciembre de 1940, el recurrido Prudencio S. del Rosario habia obtenido un voto. En el 14 de dicho mes, al reunirse la junta de escrutinio de San Mateo, el tesorero municipal le entrego las actas de eleccion asi como una copia de la recibida por el sobre el resultado de las votaciones hechas en la mencionada leproseria el dia 10 de diciembre de 1940. En el recuento verificado por la junta municipal de escrutinio de San Mateo no se incluyo el voto emitido en la leproseria de San Lazaro a favor de Del Rosario; y, habiendo sido el resultado del escrutinio un empate entre dicho Prudencio S. del Rosario y Cesar Santos, la junta municipal de escrutinio, previos los requisitos de ley, echo suertes, habiendo resultado favorecido Cesar Santos, por lo que este fue proclamado como el candidato electo. Prudencio del Rosario, en vista de la negativa de la junta municipal de escrutinio de contar a su favor el voto emitido en dicha leproseria, acudio al Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Rizal en un recurso de mandamus contra la junta municipal de escrutinio (causa civil No. 7937, titulada "Prudencio S. del Rosario, solicitante, contra Leonardo Beltran y otros, recurridos), recurso que, despues de los tramites correspondientes, fallo dicho Juzgado a favor del solicitante Prudencio S. del Rosario. La parte dispositiva del fallo es como sigue:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"For all the foregoing considerations, the canvass of votes held by the respondent municipal board of canvassers of San Mateo, Rizal, on December 14, 1940, and the subsequent proceedings adopted by them on December 16, 1940, in drawing lots for the determination of the winner as between the two candidates for mayor who had supposedly tied, are hereby declared illegal, and the certificate issued by them declaring a tie vote for the office of mayor and that declaring Cesar Santos elected at the drawing of the lots are hereby declared null and void, and it is hereby ordered that the said respondent municipal board of canvassers immediately convene for the purpose of making another canvass and including therein . the return from the San Lazaro Leprosarium, Manila, or the certificate of the Executive Judge of the Municipal (Court of Manila of the results of the voting held in San Lazaro Leprosarium, Manila, for the municipality of San Mateo, Rizal, Exhibit C. No cause of action having been shown against the respondent board of election inspectors of Precinct No. 1, San Mateo, Rizal, the petition is hereby dismissed with respect to the said respondents without costs. The respondent municipal board of canvassers should pay the costs."cralaw virtua1aw library

La cuestion, por tanto, que debe resolverse es la de si el Juez recurrido, Honorable Alejo Labrador, se excedio o no de su jurisdiccion o abuso de ella al declarar ilegales y nulos el recuento de votos hecho por la junta municipal de escrutinio de San Mateo, Rizal, el 14 de diciembre de 1940, y los subsiguientes procedimientos realizados por la misma el 16 de diciembre del mismo aiio, y al ordenar a la indicada junta municipal de escrutinio de San Mateo que se reuniera inmediatamente con el objeto de verificar un nuevo escrutinio incluyendo en el el resultado de la votacion efectuada en la leproseria de San Lazaro, el dia 10 de diciembre de 1940.

La mayoria, invocando la doctrina enunciada en el asunto de Dizon, recurrente, contra la Junta Provincial de Escrutinio de La Laguna, sostiene que el Juez recurrido no abuso ni se excedio de su jurisdiccion.

En este recurso de certiorari, asi como en el de mandamus, incoado por el recurrido Prudencio S. del Rosario, los solicitantes alegan que, no habiendose incluido el voto discutido de un leproso a favor de dicho Prudencio del Rosario, la junta municipal de escrutinio de San Mateo obro de acuerdo con la ley al no contar dicho voto, no constando, como no constaba, en las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccioon del precinto No. 1 del referido municipio de San Mateo, por no haberse transmitido a dicha junta, sino despues de haber esta terminado el escrutinio de votos en el mencionado precinto y anunciado el resultado de la votacion, el cual fue un empate entre los dos candidatos, Cesar Santos y el recurrido Prudencio S. del Rosario. Alegan, igualmente, que el leproso, cuyo voto se discute, no era elector del precinto No. 1 del municipio de San Mateo, Rizal.

El articulo 12 del Codigo Electoral, al hablar de la votacion en las leprosarias, dispone, entre otras cosas, que:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

". . . a las dos de la tarde o tan pronto como los electores que lo desearen hayan terminado de votar, hara el escrutinio y levantara acta del resultado, transmitiendo por telegrafo, a las seis de la tarde del dia de la votacion, o tan pronto despues del escrutinio como sea posible, al tesorero municipal del correspondiente municipio, al tesorero provincial y al Secretario del Interior el resultado del escrutinio, para que se tengan en cuenta en la computacion final de votos, y al mismo tiempo enviara copias certificadas del acta a dichos funcionarios por correo urgente y certificado.

"El tesorero municipal transmitira inmediatalnente copia certificada del telegrama al precinto No. 1 del municipio, y la junta de inspectores incluira en su escrutinio los votos consignados en el telegrama, siempre que este se reciba por dicha junta antes de proclamarse el resultado de dicho escrotinio."cralaw virtua1aw library

No hay cuestion, porque esta admitido por los mismos recurridos, sobre que la junta de inspectores de eleccion del precinto No. 1 de San Mateo termino el escrutinio de votos de dicho precinto y anuncio el resultado de la votacion, a las tres de la madrugada del dia 11 de diciembre de 1940, y de que el tesorero municipal del tantas veces mencionado municipio transmitio el telegrama del Juez Ejecutivo del Juzgado Municipal, referente al voto del leproso a favor del recurrido Prudencio S. del Rosario, a eso de las diez de la manana del dia 11 de diciembre de 1940, esto es, cuando la junta de inspectores de eleccion ya habia terminado el escrutinio y hecho publico el resultado de la votacion. Es, por tanto, un hecho que el voto de dicho leproso no consta, ni pudo haberse hecho constar, en las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion del precinto No. 1 de San Mateo. Ahora bien; lpuede una junta municipal de escrutinio contar votos que no aparezcan en las actas preparadas y suscritas por la junta de inspectores de eleccion? La contestacion negativa es clara. El articulo 162 del Codigo

Electoral dispone, entre otras cosas, que:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Inmediatamente despues de la eleccion, se reunira la junta municipal de escrutinio. El tesorero municipal exhibira a la misma las actas de eleccion de los precinto electorales entregadas a el y la junta contara los votos emitidos para cada cargo municipal y proclamara elegidos para dichos cargos a los que obtuvieron el mayor numero de votos y hayan presentado su certificado de candidatura del mismo modo que anteriormente se dispone para la junta provincial . . . La junta municipal de escrutinio no podra recontar las balotas, ni inspeccionar ninguna de las mismas, sino que procedera conforme a las actas que se le han presentado." (Las cursivas son nuestras.)

Tenemos, pues, que la junta municipal de escrutinio, al desempehar sus funciones como tal, no podra considerar otras actas que no sean aquellas entregadas por el tesorero municipal y recibidas por este de la junta de inspectores de eleccion. Ahora bien; ¿es el telegrama del Juez Ejecutivo del Juzgado Municipal de Manila o el acta del resultado de la eleccion en la leprosaria de San Lazaro, un acta del precinto No. 1 de San Mateo? O, dicho de otro modo y mas claramente, ¿es el acta del resultado de las votaciones verificadas en la leproseria de San Lazaro, en Manila, el 10 de diciembre de 1940, igual o identica en sus efectos legales a las actas del precinto No. 1 de San Mateo? Nosotros sostenemos que no. Porque si lo fuese, el mandato de la ley de que el telegrama sobre el resultado de 13 eleccin en las leproserias sea entregado por el tesorero municipal a la junta de inspectores de los precintos No. 1 de cada municipio, no tendria razon de ser; seria un imperativo inane; si lo fuese, digo, la ley hubiese dispuesto simplemente que el telegrama y el acta del resultado de la eleccion en las leproserias, fueran entregados al tesorero municipal para que este, a su vez, los entregue, en su dia, a la junta municipal de escrutinio. Cuando, pues, la ley dispone que el telegrama sea entregado a la junta de inspcctores de eleccion, al recibirse por el tesorero, ello demuestra a las claras que dicho telegrama y el acta del resultado de las votaciones en las leprosarias, no tienen identica consideracion, igual valor legal que las actas de los precintos electorales. Si tal es el caso, como asi creemos, es evidente que la junta municipal de escrutinio de San Mateo no obro ilegalmente al no considerar el voto discutido. Se condujo con acierto, ajustandose a la ley.

La mayoria parece admitir que, bajo las disposiciones del parrafo 2. º del mencionado articulo, la teoria de los recurrentes es fundada. Pero alega que el articulo 12 del Codigo Electoral (supra) debe interpretarse en su conjunto; que asi interpretado y basandose en el primer parrafo del mismo, sostiene que el objeto de la ley, al disponer que el juez de paz transmita por telegrama al tesorero municipal del municipio correspondiente el resultado de las votaciones en las leproserias, es que el voto del leproso puede incluirse en el escrutinio final. Estamos concordes con la mayoria en esto. En donde disentimos es en la interpretacion hecha por ella que la conceptuamos erronea. El error consis,te en haberse pasado por alto la relacion logica e intima entre los dos parrafos del mencionado articulo. Si hemos de dar a este articulo el sentido que ha dado la mayoria, necesariamente vendriamos a caer en la proposicion de que el voto de un leproso debe ser tenido en cuenta en el escrutinio final que ha de hacer la junta municipal de escrutinio, aunque no conste en las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion del precinto unico o No. 1 de cada municipio. Tal proposicion no halla, a nuestro juicio, ninguna base en la ley. Decimos todavia mas: pugna con la ley. Esta dispone que la junta municipal de escrutinio, al desempeiiar su cometido como tal, no debe contar los votos que no consten en las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion, entregadas por el tesorero municipal del municipio correspondiente. Su funcion se reduce a contar de nuevo los votos consignados en dichas actas. Si en su escrutinio encuentra que la operacion aritmetica en el verificado por la junta de inspectores de eleccion es correcta, su deber es proclamarlo asi. Esto esta fundado en el articulo 162 del mencionado cuerpo legal. Este articulo no obliga al tesorero municipal a exhibir o entregar a la junta de escrutinio municipal otros documentos que las actas a el enviadas por la junta de inspectores de eleccion.

Es, por tanto, evidente que, en vista de las disposiciones legales, arriba acotadas, la junta municipal de escrutinio de San Mateo se ajusto a la ley; obro con acierto al notener en cuenta el voto discutido de un leproso, voto que no aparecia en las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion. No hallamos disposicion legal alguna; no sabemos de ninguna, siquiera por inferencia, que obligue a laljunta municipal de escrutinio a contar votos que no estenpconsignados en las mencionadas actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion.

Deciamos que se ha cometido un error en la interpretacion del articulo 12 supra del Codigo Electoral. Comollevamos dicho, el parrafo primero y ei segundo del referido articulo se complementan; no existe conflicto entreambos. Mientras el parrafo 1. ° dispone que se trasmita por telegrafo al tesorero municipal correspondiente el resultado de las protaciones en las leproserias, con el fin deque pueda ser incluido en la computacion final de votos; el parrafo segundo, por otro lado, establece la condicion que debe cumplirse para tal efecto, y es que dicho resultadosea transmitido a la junta de inspectores de eleccion correspondiente antes de que esta haya proclamado el resultadode su escrutinio. No encontramos en la ley ningun precepto que disponga que, no obstante no estar incluido elvoto de un leproso en las actas de la junta de inspectore de eleccion, pueda ser tenido en cuenta por la junta municipal de escrutinio. El articulo 162 (supra), al ordenar que el tesorero municipal entregue a la junta municipal deescrutinio las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccioprecibidas por el, sin referirse a las actas sobre el resultadode las votaciones en las leproserias, parece dar a entender,y asi es nuestra conclusion, que, para que el voto emitido en las leproserias pueda incluirse en el escrutinio que ha deverificar dicha junta municipal de escrutinio, es precisoque el mencionado voto conste en las actas de la junta de inspectors de eleccion. La unica razon que pueda obligar a la junta municipal de escrutinio a considerar las actas levantadas en las leproserias seria la de que las mismas se consideren como parte integrante de las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion. Pero si se interpretase asi la ley, caeriamos en el absurdo de que el segundo parrafo del articulo 12 (supra) del Codigo Electoral, eria superfluo, careceria de sentido, porque no tendria, entonces, ningun objeto al prescribir que la junta de inspectores de eleccion incluya en el escrutinio que haga los votos transmtidos a su precinto por el tesorero municipal, antes de haberse proclamado el resultado del escrutinio.

Cuando, pues, la ley ha dispuesto que se entreguen por el tesorero municipal a la junta municipal de escrutinio las actas recibidas por el de la junta de inspectores de eleccion, sin mencion ninguna de las extendidas en las leproserias, es indudable que la intencion de la Legislatura ha sido la de que no se contaran votos por la junta municipal de escrutinio que no estuviesen incluidos en las actas de dicha junta de inspectores de eleccion. No era, por consiguiente, deber de la junta municipal de escrutinio de San Mateo el incluir en su escrutinio el voto de un leproso que motivo estos procedimientos que tenemos ante Nos. Por tanto, el recurrido Juez obro sin jurisdiccion y abuso de ella al ordenar a la junta municipal de escrutinio de San Mateo que hiciera otro escrutinio e incluyera en el el voto tantas veces mencionado de un leproso. El caso de Dizon invocado por la msyoria no tiene aplicacion al de autos. En aquel se trataba de actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion enmendadas por la misma junta por orden de un tribunal. En este no se discuten las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion. La diferencia es inmensa.

Se arguye que si se adoptara nuestro punto de vista, obrariamos contra el espiritu de la ley que brinda una oportunidad a los leprosos para que puedan ejercer la prerrogativa mas alta y sagrada del ciudadano, el derecho a intervenir en la eleccion de las personas que han de administrar los intereres de la comunidad y de la Nacion. Tal alegacion no esta justificada. Porque, a nuestro entender, aun cuando se considerara el articulo 12, supra,de la Ley Electoral, de caracter especial, opinamos que ello no concede mayores privilegios al voto de los leprosos, de tal modo, que fuera superior al de los otros ciudadanos. Estos, en el ejercicio de su derecho de sufragio, han de qujetarse a los requisitos de tiempo y lugar marcados por la ley para que su voto pueda ser registrado oficialmente. De igual modo el voto de un leproso debera ajustarse a las condiciones, de que ya hablamos al comentar el tantas veces mencionado articulo 12 de la Ley Electoral. De ahi que la indicada observacion de que se privaria a los leprosos de sus votos no tenga razon de ser. Ademas, es nuestro sentir que el remedio mas adecuado en el caso que nos ocupa, no es el de mandamus sino el de protesta, porque, en primer lugar, en el caso de autos, el recurrente no solo discute el voto de un leproso por no constar en las actas de la junta de inspectores de eleccion, sino tambien el que dicho leproso no era elector inscrito en el censo electoral del precinto No. 1 del municipio de San Mateo; en segundo lugar, porque el Codigo Electoral, en su articulo 165, dice:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"ART. 165. Posesion del cargo. — Todo candidato a un cargo munipal proclamado electo por la junta municipal de escrutinio tomara posesion del mismo, aunque haya pendiente una protesta contra su eleccion de los tribunales, sin perjuicio de la decision definitiva de estos." (Las cursivas son nuestras.)

Y esta disposicion legal parece dar a entender, y asi sostenemos, que una vez proclamado electo un candidato a un cargo municipal, el remedio para discutir su derecho al mismo es el de la protesta; en tercer lugar, porque con la protesta se discutiria no solo si debe o no contarse el voto de un leproso en las circunstancias en que se encuentra el discutido en este asunto, sino tambien su capacidad de elector; y, en cuarto lugar, porque en el caso de que Cesar Santos pueda aun, no obstante haberse denegado este recurso, presentar una protesta contra el recurrido Prudencio S. del Rosario, habremos multiplicado sin necesidad los pleitos.

He ahi por que disiento.

G.R. No. 48018   February  1, 1941 - NOE AGADO, ET AL. v. ALEJO LABRADOR, ET AL. <br /><br />071 Phil 243


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