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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
March-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 51765 March 3, 1997 - REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK v. ENRIQUE A. AGANA, SR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 93397 March 3, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99425 March 3, 1997 - ANTONIO RAMOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 100487 & 100607 March 3, 1997 - ARTURO JULIANO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106581 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO FLORES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110419 March 3, 1997 - UERM-MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114383 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL COREA

  • G.R. No. 116437 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLITO ANDAN

  • G.R. No. 117161 March 3, 1997 - RAMON INGLES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120704 March 3, 1997 - BARTOLOME C. CARALE, ET AL. v. PAMPIO A. ABARINTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123321 March 3, 1997 - ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123361 March 3, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125198 March 3, 1997 - MSCI-NACUSIP v. NWPC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 84449 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENEDICTO JAVIER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102876 March 4, 1997 - BATAAN SHIPYARD AND ENG’G CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118607 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULITO FRANCO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1335 March 5, 1997 - INOCENCIO BASCO v. LEO H. RAPATALO

  • G.R. No. 126576 March 5, 1997 - RICARDO M. ANGOBUNG v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 83598 March 7, 1997 - LEONCIA BALOGBOG, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 94994-95 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LILIBETH CACO

  • G.R. No. 106212 March 7, 1997 - PROGRESS HOMES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108395 March 7, 1997 - HEIRS OF TEODORO GUARING, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 108604-10 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FEDERICO A. BURCE

  • G.R. No. 113420 March 7, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113905 March 7, 1997 - LEOPOLDO ALICBUSAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116211 March 7, 1997 - MEYNARDO POLICARPIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116512 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM O. CASIDO, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1353 March 11, 1997 - DANILO B. PARADA v. LORENZO B. VENERACION

  • G.R. No. 127066 March 11, 1997 - REYNALDO O. MALONZO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117169 March 12, 1997 - PHILTREAD WORKERS UNION, ET AL. v. NIEVES R. CONFESOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121917 March 12, 1997 - ROBIN CARIÑO PADILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 99301 & 99343 March 13, 1997 - VICTOR KIERULF, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100333 March 13, 1997 - HILARIO MAGCALAS, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103611 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR HERBIETO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107131 March 13, 1997 - NFD INT’L. MANNING AGENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108454 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEDDY QUINAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109779 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR MAÑOZCA

  • G.R. No. 110067 March 13, 1997 - LINDA T. ALMENDRAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111478 March 13, 1997 - GEORGE F. SALONGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111567 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEODORICO AVILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116123 March 13, 1997 - SERGIO NAGUIAT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116228 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EPIFANIO GAYON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116352 March 13, 1997 - J. & D.O. AGUILAR CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116596-98 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORENZO TOPAGUEN

  • G.R. No. 117266 March 13, 1997 - CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST VENTURA O. DUCAT, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 117955-58 March 13, 1997 - HERMINIGILDO TOMARONG, ET AL. v. ANTONIO C. LUBGUBAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119058 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERLINDA VILLARAN

  • G.R. No. 120853 March 13, 1997 - RUDY ALMEDA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122427 March 13, 1997 - BENJAMIN LAZA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123881 March 13, 1997 - VIVA PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91694 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SABAS CALVO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97626 March 14, 1997 - PHIL. BANK OF COMMERCE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114387 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO DEVILLERES

  • G.R. No. 120592 March 14, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK EMPLOYEES UNION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121765 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RANDOLF B. MONTEALTO

  • G.R. No. 122646 March 14, 1997 - ADELIA C. MENDOZA v. ANGELITO C. TEH, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112229 March 18, 1997 - RAYMOND PE LIM v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 114924-27 March 18, 1997 - DANTE NACURAY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119321 March 18, 1997 - CATALINO F. BAÑEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Bar Matter No. 712 March 19, 1997 - PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYER’S OATH

  • G.R. Nos. 100382-100385 March 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO TABACO

  • G.R. No. 111157 March 19, 1997 - ITOGON-SUYOC MINES, INC. v. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117029 March 19, 1997 - PELTAN DEVELOPMENT, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121112 March 19, 1997 - FELICIDAD MIRANO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127325 March 19, 1997 - MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1159 March 20, 1997 - COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. WILLIAM C. SEVILLO

  • G.R. No. 88684 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR LACBANES

  • G.R. No. 95551 March 20, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. CONCEPCION S. ALARCON VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107019 March 20, 1997 - FRANKLIN M. DRILON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116404 March 20, 1997 - FRANCISCO LUNA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117218 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERRY NALANGAN

  • G.R. No. 119599 March 20, 1997 - MALAYAN INSURANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127456 March 20, 1997 - JESUS A. JARIOL, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-96-1091 March 21, 1997 - WILFREDO NAVARRO v. DEOGRACIAS K. DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 107699 March 21, 1997 - ALEX JACOBO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116692 March 21, 1997 - SAMAR II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117097 March 21, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG OPTOMETRISTS SA PILIPINAS, ET AL. v. ACEBEDO INTL. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118436 March 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF MANUEL A. ROXAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118836 March 21, 1997 - FEDERICO DORDAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122728 March 21, 1997 - CASIANO A. ANGCHANGCO, JR. v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123037 March 21, 1997 - TEODORO Q. PEÑA v. HRET, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1184 March 24, 1997 - NBI, ET AL. v. RODOLFO TULIAO

  • G.R. No. 106588 March 24, 1997 - RAUL H. SESBREÑO v. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-89-318 March 25, 1997 - LUCIANA Vda. DE ARAGO v. PATERNO T. ALVAREZ

  • G.R. No. 96229 March 25, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GLORIOSA S. NAVARRO

  • G.R. No. 124137 March 25, 1997 - ROY M. LOYOLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126298 March 25, 1997 - PATRIA C. GUTIERREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99032 March 26, 1997 - RICARDO A. LLAMADO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101817 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE IMMACULATA

  • G.R. No. 107801 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSARIA V. IGNACIO

  • G.R. No. 110613 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 113470 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO CORBES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115951 March 26, 1997 - ZEBRA SECURITY AGENCY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117378 March 26, 1997 - GIL CAPILI, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117408 March 26, 1997 - NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND DEV. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117604 March 26, 1997 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118332 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IRENEO PEREZ

  • G.R. No. 119528 March 26, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121031 March 26, 1997 - ROSAURO I. TORRES v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122013 March 26, 1997 - JOSE C. RAMIREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124333 March 26, 1997 - NATIVIDAD P. ARAGON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119877 March 31, 1997 - BIENVENIDO ONGKINGCO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  •  




     
     

    G.R. No. 122013   March 26, 1997 - JOSE C. RAMIREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 122013. March 26, 1997.]

    JOSE C. RAMIREZ, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF GIPORLOS, EASTERN SAMAR and ALFREDO I. GO, Respondents.

    Ambrosio, Ambrosio, Cadiao and Associates for Petitioner.

    Felicen, Bagro, Giron and Associates for Private Respondent.


    SYLLABUS


    1. POLITICAL LAW; COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; PETITION FOR CORRECTION OF MANIFEST ERROR; MAY BE FILED DIRECTLY WITH THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC. — Rule 27, 5 of the 1993 Rules of the COMELEC expressly provides that pre-proclamation controversies involving, inter alia, manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of the results may be filed directly with the COMELEC en banc, thus 5. Pre-proclamation Controversies Which May Be Filed Directly With the Commission. — (a) The following pre-proclamation controversies may be filed directly with the Commission: . . . 2) When the issue involves the correction of manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of the results during the canvassing as where (1) a copy of the election returns or certificate of canvass was tabulated more than once, (2) two or more copies of the election returns of one precinct, or two or more copies of certificate of canvass were tabulated separately, (3) there had been a mistake in the copying of the figures into the statement of votes or into the certificate of canvass, or (4) so-called returns from non-existent precincts were included in the canvass, and such errors could not have been discovered during the canvassing despite the exercise of due diligence and proclamation of the winning candidates had already been made. . . (e) The petition shall be heard and decided by the Commission en banc. . . Accordingly in Castromayor v. Commission on Elections, (250 SCRA 298 [1995]) and Mentang v. Commission on Elections, (229 SCRA 666 [1993] this Court approved the assumption of jurisdiction by the COMELEC en banc over petitions for correction of manifest error directly filed with it. Our decision today in Torres v. COMELEC (G.R. No. 121031, March 26, 1997) again gives imprimatur to the exercise by the COMELEC en banc of the power to decide petition for correction of manifest error.

    2. ID.; CERTIFICATION ISSUED BY THE MUNICIPAL BOARD CANVASSERS IS NOT THE PROPER WAY TO CORRECT MANIFEST ERRORS IN THE STATEMENT OF VOTES. — To begin with, the corrections should be made either by inserting Corrections in the Statement of Votes which was originally prepared and submitted by the MBC, or by preparing an entirely new Statement of Votes incorporating therein the corrections. The certification issued by the MBC is thus not the proper way to correct manifest errors in the Statement of Votes. More importantly, the corrections should be based on the election returns but here the corrections appear to have been made by the MBC on the bases of the Certificates of Votes issued. Certificates of Votes are issued by Boards of Election Inspectors (BEI) to watchers, pursuant to 215 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC). While such certificates are useful for showing tampering, alteration, falsification or any other irregularity in the preparation of election returns, there is no reason for their use in this case since the integrity of the election returns is not in question. On the other hand, in the canvass of votes, the MBC is directed to use the election returns. Accordingly, in revising the Statement of Votes supporting the Certificate of Canvass, the MBC should have used the election returns from the precincts in question although in fairness to the MBC, it proposed the use of election returns but the COMELEC en banc rejected the proposal.

    3. ID.; STATEMENT OF VOTES; IN CASE AT BAR, ITS PREPARATION AFTER THE PROCLAMATION OF THE WINNING CANDIDATE WAS IN VIOLATION OF THE OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE. — The Statement of Votes is a tabulation per precinct of votes garnered by the candidates as reflected in the election returns. The Statement of Votes is a vital component of the electoral process. It supports the Certificate of Canvass and is the basis for proclamation. But in this case the Statement of Votes was not even prepared until after the proclamation of the winning candidate. This is contrary to the Omnibus Election Code, 231 of which provides in part: . . . The respective board of canvassers shall prepare a certificate of canvass duly signed and affixed with the imprint of the thumb of the right hand of each member, supported by a statement of votes received by each candidate in each polling place and, on the basis thereof, shall proclaim as elected the candidates who obtained the highest number of votes cast in the province, city, municipality or barangay.

    4. ID.; COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS SHOULD HAVE ORDERED THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS TO REVISE THE STATEMENT OF VOTES, USING THE ELECTION RETURNS FOR THIS PURPOSE. — It appears from the Comment of the NBC that the MBC prepared its Certificate of Canvass simply on the basis of improvised tally sheets and that it was only after the termination of the canvass, the proclamation of petitioner Jose C. Ramirez, and the accomplishment of the Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation, that its clerk, Rosalia Abenojar, prepared the Statement of Votes (C.E. Form No. 20-A). In a sworn report, Ms. Abenojar herself stated that she was tired and drowsy at the time she prepared the Statement of Votes for the mayoralty and vice mayoralty positions. Although this circumstance may support petitioner’s claim that the number of votes credited to private respondent Alfredo I. Go are actually those cast in Precinct Nos. 11, 11-A, 6, 1, 17, 7, and 10 for mayoralty candidate Rodito Fabillar, it is equally possible that Go and Fabillar obtained the same number of votes in those precincts. That the clerk who prepared the Statement of Votes was tired and drowsy does not necessarily mean the entries she made were erroneous. But what is clear is that the Statement of Votes was not prepared with the care required by its importance. Accordingly, as the Solicitor General states, what the COMELEC should have ordered the MBC to do was not merely to recompute the number of votes for the parties, but to revise the Statement of Votes, using the election returns for this purpose. As this Court ruled in Villaroya v. Commission on Elections (155 SCRA 633-644 [1987]): [T]he COMELEC has ample power to see to it that the elections are held in clean and orderly manner and it may decide all questions affecting the elections and has original jurisdiction on all matters relating to election returns, including the verification of the number of votes received by opposing candidates in the election returns as compared to the statement of votes in order to insure that the true will of the people is known. Such a clerical error in the statement of votes can be ordered corrected by the COMELEC.


    D E C I S I O N


    MENDOZA, J.:


    Petitioner Jose C. Ramirez and private respondent Alfredo I. Go were candidates for vice mayor of Giporlos, Eastern Samar in the election of May 8, 1995. Petitioner was proclaimed winner by the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) on the basis of results showing that he obtained 1,367 votes against private respondent’s 1,235 votes. 1

    On May 16, 1995, private respondent filed in the COMELEC a petition for the correction of what he claimed was manifest error in the Statement of Votes (SPC No. 95-198). He alleged that, based on the entries in the Statement of Votes, he obtained 1,515 votes as against petitioner’s 1,367 votes but that because of error in addition, he was credited with 1,235 votes as shown in the following recomputation: 2

    Precinct No. G, Alfredo I. Ramirez, Jose C.

    8-A 23 43

    9 23 10

    8 37 49

    2-A 31 48

    12 50 42

    12-A 65 29

    7-A 36 73

    20 7 19

    3 88 56

    1-A 54 67

    13-A 43 47

    18 39 12

    14 19 65

    4 27 37

    5-A 43 67

    13 37 42

    2 73 79

    15 49 49

    11 58 18

    11-A 66 32

    6 115 98

    1 130 52

    17 54 15

    7 86 67

    10 60 13

    5 50 55

    19 41 61

    21 59 46

    16 52 76

    ———— —— ——

    Total 29 Precincts 1,235 1,367

    (Should be 1,515)

    In his Answer with Counter-Protest, 3 petitioner Jose C. Ramirez disputed private respondent’s claim. He said that instead of the total of the votes for private respondent Alfredo Go, it was actually the entries relating to the number of votes credited to him in Precinct Nos. 11, 11-A, 6, 1, 17, 7, and 10 which were erroneously reflected in the Statement of Votes. According to petitioner, the entries in the Statement of Votes actually referred to the number of votes obtained by Rodito Fabillar, a mayoralty candidate, and not to the votes obtained by private Respondent. Petitioner alleged that, as shown in the Certificate of Votes prepared by the Board of Election Inspectors, the votes cast for Go in the precincts in question were as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Precinct Nos. Per Statement Per Certificate

    of Votes of Votes

    11 58 32

    11-A 66 18

    6 115 65

    1 130 61

    17 54 48

    7 86 37

    10 60 28

    The addition of the number of votes (reflected in the Certificate of Votes) to the number of votes from other precincts confirms the MBC’s certificate that the total number of votes cast was actually 1,367 for petitioner and 1,235 for Private Respondent.

    On August 1, 1995, the COMELEC en banc issued its first questioned resolution, directing the MBC to reconvene and recompute the votes in the Statement of Votes and proclaim the winning candidate for vice mayor of Giporlos, Eastern Samar accordingly. 4

    Petitioner Jose C. Ramirez and public respondent Municipal Board of Canvassers filed separate "motions for clarification." On September 26, 1995, the COMELEC en banc issued its second questioned resolution, reiterating its earlier ruling. It rejected the MBC’s recommendation to resort to election return: 5

    The Municipal Board of Canvassers is reminded that pursuant to Section 231 of the Omnibus Election Code, it is the Statement of Votes, duly prepared, accomplished during the canvass proceedings, and certified true and correct by said Board which supports and form (sic) the basis of the Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation of winning candidates. In fact and indeed, the Municipal Board of Canvassers/Movant had submitted to the Commission, attached to and forming part of the Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation a Statement of Votes without any notice of any discrepancy or infirmity therein. To claim now that the proclamation was not based on said Statement of Votes but on the Certificate of Votes because the entries in the Statement of Votes are erroneous is too late a move, considering that by the Board’s act of submitting said Statement of Votes as attachment to the Certificate of Proclamation and Canvass, it had rendered regularity and authenticity thereto.

    Hence this petition for certiorari and mandamus seeking the annulment of the two resolutions, dated August 1, 1995 and September 26, 1995, of the Commission on Elections, and the reinstatement instead of the May 10, 1995 proclamation of petitioner Jose C. Ramirez as the duly elected vice mayor of Giporlos, Eastern Samar. Petitioner contends that (1) the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction over SPC No. 95-198 because the case was resolved by it without having been first acted upon by any of its divisions, and (2) the MBC had already made motu proprio a correction of manifest errors in the Statement of Votes in its certification dated May 22, 1995, showing the actual number of votes garnered by the candidates and it was a grave abuse of its discretion for the COMELEC to order a recomputation of votes based on the allegedly uncorrected Statement of Votes.

    With respect to the first ground of the petition, Art. IX, 3 of the Constitution provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    3. 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 Comelec en banc. (Emphasis added)

    Although in Ong, Jr. v. COMELEC 6 it was said that "By now it is settled that election cases which include pre-proclamation controversies must first be heard and decided by a division of the Commission" 7 — and a petition for correction of manifest error in the Statement of Votes, like SPC No. 95-198 is a pre-proclamation controversy — in none of the cases 8 cited to support this proposition was the issue the correction of a manifest error in the Statement of Votes under 231 of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 6216 SCRA 806 (1992). Blg. 881) or 15 of R.A. No. 7166. On the other hand, Rule 27, 5 of the 1993 Rules of the COMELEC expressly provides that pre-proclamation controversies involving, inter alia, manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of the results may be filed directly with the COMELEC en banc, thus

    5. Pre-proclamation Controversies Which May Be Filed Directly With the Commission. — (a) The following pre-proclamation controversies may be filed directly with the Commission:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    2) When the issue involves the correction of manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of the results during the canvassing as where (1) a copy of the election returns or certificate of canvass was tabulated more than once, (2) two or more copies of the election returns of one precinct, or two or more copies of certificate of canvass were tabulated separately, (3) there had been a mistake in the copying of the figures into the statement of votes or into the certificate of canvass, or (4) so-called returns from non-existent precincts were included in the canvass, and such errors could not have been discovered during the canvassing despite the exercise of due diligence and proclamation of the winning candidates had already been made.

    x       x       x


    (e) The petition shall be heard and decided by the Commission en banc.

    Accordingly in Castromayor v. Commission on Elections, 9 and Mentang v. Commission on Elections, 10 this Court approved the assumption of jurisdiction by the COMELEC en banc over petitions for correction of manifest error directly filed with it. Our decision today in Torres v. COMELEC 11 again gives imprimatur to the exercise by the COMELEC en banc of the power to decide petition for correction of manifest error.

    In any event, petitioner is estopped from raising the issue of jurisdiction of the COMELEC en banc. Not only did he participate in the proceedings below but he also sought affirmative relief from the COMELEC en banc by filing a Counter-Protest in which he asked that "entr[ies] in the statement of votes for Precinct Nos. 11, 11-A, 6, 1, 17, 7 and 10, be properly corrected for the petitioner, to reflect the correct mandate of the electorate of Giporlos, Eastern Samar." 12 It is certainly not right for a party taking part in proceedings and submitting his case for decision to attack the decision later for lack of jurisdiction of the tribunal because the decision turns out to be adverse to him. 13

    Petitioner next contends that motu proprio the MBC already made a correction of the errors in the Statement of Votes in its certification dated May 22, 1995, which reads: 14

    C E R T I F I C A T I O N

    To whom It May Concern:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    This is to certify that the hereunder candidates for Municipal Vice Mayor of Giporlos, Eastern Samar during the May 8, 1995 National and Local Elections got the number of Votes on the precincts listed hereunder in tabulation form based in our Canvassing of Votes per Precincts.

    Name of PRECINCT NUMBERS

    candidate 11 11-A 6 1 17 7 10

    GO, Alfredo I. 32 18 65 61 48 37 28

    RAMIREZ, 18 32 98 52 15 67 13

    Jose C.

    This certification is issued upon request of the interested party for whatever legal purpose this may serve him.

    Giporlos, Eastern Samar.

    May 22, 1995

    To begin with, the corrections should be made either by inserting corrections in the Statement of Votes which was originally prepared and submitted by the MBC, or by preparing an entirely new Statement of Votes incorporating therein the corrections. 15 The certification issued by the MBC is thus not the proper way to correct manifest errors in the Statement of Votes. More importantly, the corrections should be based on the election returns but here the corrections appear to have been made by the MBC on the bases of the Certificates of Votes issued. Thus, in its motion for clarification, the MBC said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a. The proclamation of Jose C. Ramirez was based on the results of the certificate of canvass and tally of votes garnered by both petitioner and private respondent which showed Jose C. Ramirez garnering 1,367 as against 1,235 by Alfredo I Go, or a winning margin of 132 in favor of Jose C Ramirez;

    b. Based on the certificate of votes in Precinct Nos. 11, 11-A, 6, 1, 17, 7, and 10, Alfredo I. Go garnered only 32, 18, 65, 61, 48, 37 and 28, respectively, and the votes ascribed to the latter shown in the statement of votes are clear typographical errors and were erroneously copied from the votes garnered by mayoral candidate Rodito P. Fabillar from the same seven (7) precincts in Giporlos;

    c. Because of typographical errors in the statement of votes, Alfredo I. Go ballooned (sic) by 280 votes, such that instead of losing by 132 votes to Jose C Ramirez, Alfredo I Go acquired an unwarranted margin of 148 votes;

    d. The recomputation based on the statement of votes alone without including the correct votes on the Election Returns on the Seven (7) precincts aforesaid will frustrate the will of the people who unquestionably voted for Jose C. Ramirez by a clear majority of 132 votes;

    e. In the preparation of the certificate of canvass and proclamation, only the certificate of votes of each candidate were considered by reason of the fact it was prepared and signed only on May 11, 1995 or one after (sic) the proclamation of the winning municipal candidates on May 10, 1995.

    Certificates of Votes are issued by Boards of Election Inspectors (BEI) to watchers, pursuant to 215 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC). While such certificates are useful for showing tampering, alteration, falsification or any other irregularity in the preparation of election returns, 16 there is no reason for their use in this case since the integrity of the election returns is not in question. On the other hand, in the canvass of votes, the MBC is directed to use the election returns. 17 Accordingly, in revising the Statement of Votes supporting the Certificate of Canvass, the MBC should have used the election returns from the precincts in question although in fairness to the MBC, it proposed the use of election returns but the COMELEC en banc rejected the proposal. The Statement of Votes is a tabulation per precinct of votes garnered by the candidates as reflected in the election returns.chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary

    The Statement of Votes is a vital component of the electoral process. It supports the Certificate of Canvass and is the basis for proclamation. 18 But in this case the Statement of Votes was not even prepared until after the proclamation of the winning candidate. This is contrary to the Omnibus Election Code, 231 of which provides in part:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The respective board of canvassers shall prepare a certificate of canvass duly signed and affixed with the imprint of the thumb of the right hand of each member, supported by a statement of votes received by each candidate in each polling place and, on the basis thereof, shall proclaim as elected the candidates who obtained the highest number of votes cast in the province, city, municipality or barangay.

    Indeed, it appears from the Comment of the MBC that the MBC prepared its Certificate of Canvass simply on the basis of improvised tally sheets and that it was only after the termination of the canvass, the proclamation of petitioner Jose C. Ramirez, and the accomplishment of the Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation, that its clerk, Rosalia Abenojar, prepared the Statement of Votes (C.E. Form No. 20-A). In a sworn report, Ms. Abenojar herself stated that she was tired and drowsy at the time she prepared the Statement of Votes for the mayoralty and vice mayoralty positions. Although this circumstance may support petitioner’s claim that the number of votes credited to private respondent Alfredo I. Go are actually those cast in Precinct Nos. 11, 11-A, 6, 1, 17, 7, and 10 for mayoralty candidate Rodito Fabillar, it is equally possible that Go and Fabillar obtained the same number of votes in those precincts. That the clerk who prepared the Statement of Votes was tired and drowsy does not necessarily mean the entries she made were erroneous. But what is clear is that the Statement of Votes was not prepared with the care required by its importance. Accordingly, as the Solicitor General states, what the COMELEC should have ordered the MBC to do was not merely to recompute the number of votes for the parties, but to revise the Statement of Votes, using the election returns for this purpose. 19 As this Court ruled in Villaroya v. Commission on Elections: 20

    [T]he COMELEC has ample power to see to it that the elections are held in clean and orderly manner and it may decide all questions affecting the elections and has original jurisdiction on all matters relating to election returns, including the verification of the number of votes received by opposing candidates in the election returns as compared to the statement of votes in order to insure that the true will of the people is known. Such a clerical error in the statement of votes can be ordered corrected by the COMELEC. (Emphasis added)

    Petitioner’s final contention that in any event SPC No. 95-198 must be considered rendered moot and academic by reason of his proclamation and assumption of office is untenable. The short answer to this is that petitioner’s proclamation was null and void and therefore the COMELEC was not barred from inquiring into its nullity. 21

    WHEREFORE, the petition is partially GRANTED by annulling the resolutions dated August 1, 1995 and September 26, 1995 of the Commission on Elections. The COMELEC is instead DIRECTED to reconvene the Municipal Board of Canvassers or, if this is not feasible, to constitute a new Municipal Board of Canvassers in Giporlos, Eastern Samar and to order it to revise with deliberate speed the Statement of Votes on the basis of the election returns from all precincts of the Municipality of Giporlos and thereafter proclaim the winning candidate on the basis thereof.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romeo, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr., Panganiban and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 20.

    2. Id., pp. 46-47.

    3. Id., pp. 50-54.

    4. Id., p. 59.

    5. Id., p. 73.

    6. 216 SCRA 806 (1992).

    7. Id., at 812.

    8. Pascua v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 105913, November 16, 1992, En Banc Resolution; Sarmiento v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 105628, August 6, 1992, Typoco v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 105730, August 6, 1992; Genova Jr. v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 105771, August 6, 1992; Manliclic v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 105797, August 6, 1992; Sinsuat v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 105919 August 6, 1992.

    9. 250 SCRA 298 (1995).

    10. 229 SCRA 666 (1993).

    11. G.R. No. 121031, March 26, 1997.

    12. Rollo, p. 52.

    13. See Pangarungan v. COMELEC, 216 SCRA 522 (1992); Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, 23 SCRA 29 (1968); Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. v . NLRC, 241 SCRA 36 (1995).

    14. Rollo, p. 76.

    15. Bince, Jr. v. COMELEC, 218 SCRA 782,795 (1993).

    16. R.A. No. 6646, 17.

    17. OEC, 231(1); COMELEC Resolution No. 2756, 38.

    18. OEC, 231; Duremdes v. Commission on Elections, 178 SCRA 746, 754 (1989).

    19. Rollo, p. 162.

    20. 155 SCRA 633, 643-644 (1987).

    21. Duremdes v. Commission on Elections, 178 SCRA at 757 (1989), citing Aguam v. COMELEC, 23 SCRA 833 (1968).

    G.R. No. 122013   March 26, 1997 - JOSE C. RAMIREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.




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