ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™  
Main Index Law Library Philippine Laws, Statutes & Codes Latest Legal Updates Philippine Legal Resources Significant Philippine Legal Resources Worldwide Legal Resources Philippine Supreme Court Decisions United States Jurisprudence
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)
 

 
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library
 









 

 
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
September-2000 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 117690 September 1, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO DANO

  • G.R. No. 128567 September 1, 2000 - HUERTA ALBA RESORT INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1582 September 4, 2000 - COB C. DE LA CRUZ v. RODOLFO M. SERRANO

  • G.R. No. 134763 September 4, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO RIGLOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137785 September 4, 2000 - NAPOCOR v. VINE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139282 September 4, 2000 - ROMEO DIEGO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 90828 September 5, 2000 - MELVIN COLINARES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124077 September 5, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ADORACION SEVILLA ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129239 September 5, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PAUL LAPIZ

  • G.R. Nos. 131848-50 September 5, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO VILLARAZA

  • G.R. No. 139853 September 5, 2000 - FERDINAND THOMAS M. SOLLER v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1307 September 6, 2000 - MANUEL BUNYI, ET AL. v. FELIX A. CARAOS

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1309 September 6, 2000 - FREDESMINDA DAYAWON v. MAXIMINO A. BADILLA

  • A.M. No. O.C.A.-00-01 September 6, 2000 - JULIETA B. NAVARRO v. RONALDO O. NAVARRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129220 September 6, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNIE JAMON FAUSTINO

  • G.R. No. 131506 September 6, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODEL DIZON

  • G.R. No. 133625 September 6, 2000 - REMEDIOS F. EDRIAL ET AL. v. PEDRO QUILAT-QUILAT, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1314 September 7, 2000 - CLODUALDO C. DE JESUS v. RODOLFO D. OBNAMIA JR.

  • G.R. No. 121802 September 7, 2000 - GIL MACALINO, JR. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126036 September 7, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PASCUAL BALINAD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128158 September 7, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO JUAREZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137431 September 7, 2000 - EDGARDO SANTOS v. LAND BANK OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 143385 September 7, 2000 - LEARNING CHILD, ET AL. v. ANNIE LAZARO, ET AL.

  • A.M. Nos. P-93-990 & A.M. No. P-94-1042 September 8, 2000 - TERESITO D. FRANCISCO v. FERNANDO CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 125167 September 8, 2000 - PRODUCERS BANK OF THE PHIL, ET AL. v. BANK OF THE PHIL. ISLANDS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137714 September 8, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS.. v. ROBERTO BANIGUID

  • A. M. No. P-99-1309 September 11, 2000 - FRANCISCO B. IBAY v. VIRGINIA G. LIM

  • G.R. No. 137857 September 11, 2000 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANCHO MAGDATO

  • G.R. No. 115054-66 September 12, 2000 - PEOPLE-OF THE PHILIPPINES v. VICENTE MENIL

  • G.R. No. 138201 September 12, 2000 - FRANCISCO BAYOCA, ET AL. v. GAUDIOSO NOGALES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123111 September 13, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY DAGAMI

  • G.R. No. 127444 September 13, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TIRSO D. C. VELASCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126402 September 13, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LITO ROSALES

  • G.R. No. 126781 September 13, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CALIXTO ZINAMPAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133918 September 13, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TIBOY ALBACIN

  • G.R. No. 133981 September 13, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HILARION BERGONIO, JR.

  • A.M. No. 00-1281-MTJ. September 14, 2000 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. SALVADOR B. MENDOZA

  • G.R. Nos. 104637-38 & 109797 September 14, 2000 - SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, ET AL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126368 September 14, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY CALABROSO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129208 September 14, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO ALORO

  • G.R. No. 131680 September 14, 2000 - SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. UNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL GROUP OF TAIWAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140269-70 September 14, 2000 - PHIL. CARPET EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION ET AL. v. PHIL. CARPET MANUFACTURING CORP.

  • G.R. Nos. 143351 & 144129 September 14, 2000 - MA. AMELITA C. VILLAROSA v. HRET, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109269 September 15, 2000 - BAYER PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134266 September 15, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELENCIO BALI-BALITA

  • G.R. Nos. 135288-93 September 15, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS GIANAN

  • G.R. No. 130038 September 18, 2000 - ROSA LIM v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 132603 September 18, 2000 - ELPIDIO M. SALVA, ET AL. v. ROBERTO L. MAKALINTAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134651 September 18, 2000 - VIRGILIO JIMENEZ, ET AL. v. PATRICIA, INC.

  • G.R. No. 134730 September 18, 2000 - FELIPE GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 133373-77 September 18, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FAUSTINO CAMPOS

  • G.R. NO. 140268 September 18, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE LLANES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141471 September 18, 2000 - COLEGIO DE SAN JUAN DE LETRAN v. ASSOC. OF EMPLOYEES AND FACULTY OF LETRAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141787 September 18, 2000 - MANUEL H. AFIADO, ET AL. v. COMELEC

  • G.R. No. 142038 September 18, 2000 - ROLANDO E. COLUMBRES v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 136149-51 September 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WALPAN LADJAALAM

  • G.R. No. 137659 September 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AMADEO TRELLES

  • G.R. No. 114348 September 20, 2000 - NATIONAL IRRIGATION ADMINISTRATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131927 September 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID BANAWOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135516 September 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. NEIL DUMAGUING

  • G.R. No. 132547 September 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO ULEP

  • G.R. No. 117417 September 21, 2000 - MILAGROS A. CORTES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120747 September 21, 2000 - VICENTE GOMEZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128990 September 21, 2000 - INVESTORS FINANCE CORP. v. AUTOWORLD SALES CORP.

  • G.R. No. 136396 September 21, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO ZASPA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136453 September 21, 2000 - PETRITA Y. BONILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, , ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137571 September 21, 2000 - TUNG CHIN HUI v. RUFUS B. RODRIGUEZ, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-00-1424 & MTJ-00-1316 September 25, 2000 - REYNALDO B. BELLOSILLO v. DANTE DE LA CRUZ RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 129055 September 25, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR BACALSO

  • G.R. No. 129296 September 25, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHlL. v. ABE VALDEZ

  • G.R. No. 132078 September 25, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTEMIO BERZUELA

  • G.R. No. 133465 September 25, 2000 - AMELITA DOLFO v. REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF CAVITE, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-93-986 September 26, 2000 - EDUARDO C. DE VERA v. WILLIAM LAYAGUE

  • G.R. No. 122110 September 26, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERIGEL OLIVA

  • G.R. No. 135630 September 26, 2000 - INTRAMUROS TENNIS CLUB v. PHIL. TOURISM AUTHORITY (PTA)

  • G.R. Nos. 136012-16 September 26, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ULDARICO HONRA, JR.

  • G.R. No. 138887 September 26, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JURRIE DUBRIA

  • G.R. No. 142392 September 26, 2000 - DOMINGA A. SALMONE v. EMPLOYEES’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1319 September 27, 2000 - ROLANDO A. SULLA v. RODOLFO C. RAMOS

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1447 September 27, 2000 - LEONARDO DARACAN, ET AL. v. ELI G.C. NATIVIDAD

  • G.R. No. 109760 September 27, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. PABLO F. EMOY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122498 September 27, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. ELMEDIO CAJARA

  • G.R. No. 133946 September 27, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR NOGAR

  • G.R. Nos. 97138-39 September 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EFREN TEMANEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132311 September 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MINA LIBRERO

  • G.R. No. 132725 September 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO QUILATAN

  • G.R. No. 136843 September 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO ABUNGAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138054 September 28, 2000 - ROSENDO C. CARTICIANO, ET AL. v. MARIO NUVAL

  • G.R. No. 138503 September 28, 2000 - ROBERTO FERNANDEZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 00-3-01-CTA September 29, 2000 - RE: JUDGE ERNESTO D. ACOSTA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1589 September 29, 2000 - JEANET N. MANIO v. JOSE ENER S. FERNANDO

  • G.R. No. 106401 September 29, 2000 - FLORENTINO ZARAGOZA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123299 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANTIAGO CARUGAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 124671-75 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LINDA SAGAYDO

  • G.R. No. 126048 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. RODEL SAMONTE

  • G.R. No. 126254 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RONALDO PONCE

  • G.R. No. 129507 September 29, 2000 - CHAN SUI BI, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130785 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. RONALD VITAL

  • G.R. No. 131492 September 29, 2000 - ROGER POSADAS, ET AL. v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131813 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO ABENDAN

  • G.R. No. 133443 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINADOR DE LA ROSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134100 September 29, 2000 - PURITA ALIPIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135382 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LOURDES GAMBOA

  • G.R. No. 135457 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE PATRIARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135548 September 29, 2000 - FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135981 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIVIC GENOSA

  • G.R. Nos. 137379-81 September 29, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. ARTURO GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 139910 September 29, 2000 - PHILIPPINE COCONUT AUTHORITY v. CORONA INTERNATIONAL

  • G.R. No. 141060 September 29, 2000 - PILIPINAS BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141959 September 29, 2000 - JUANITA NARZOLES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 142038   September 18, 2000 - ROLANDO E. COLUMBRES v. COMELEC, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 142038. September 18, 2000.]

    ROLANDO E. COLUMBRES, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and HILARIO DE GUZMAN JR., Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N


    BUENA, J.:


    This petition for certiorari seeks the nullification of the COMELEC En Banc Resolution dated January 25, 2000 which affirmed the Resolution of the Second Division setting aside the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch 40 in Election Case No. D-31-98 annulling the election and proclamation of private respondent Hilario de Guzman, Jr. as Mayor of San Jacinto, Pangasinan in the May 11, 1998 elections.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Petitioner Rolando Columbres and private respondent Hilario de Guzman, Jr. were candidates for the position of Mayor of San Jacinto, Pangasinan during the May 11, 1998 elections. After canvassing, the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed private respondent with 4,248 votes as against petitioner’s 4,104 votes. Subsequently, petitioner filed an election protest with the Regional Trial Court docketed as Election Case No. D-31-98. Petitioner contested 42 precincts and prayed for the revision of ballots in the said precincts.

    On December 7, 1998, the trial court rendered its decision, declaring petitioner as the duly elected mayor of San Jacinto, Pangasinan with 4,037 votes against 3,302 votes of private Respondent.

    Private respondent appealed the decision to the respondent COMELEC. The case was docketed as COMELEC EAC No. A-20-98 and raffled to the COMELEC Second Division.

    On October 5, 1999, the Second Division promulgated its Resolution reversing and setting aside the decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court and, instead, affirmed the election and proclamation of private Respondent. Private respondent was declared to have won by sixty-nine (69) votes.

    Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration with respect to the ruling of the COMELEC Second Division, validating 120 marked ballots in favor of private respondent, despite absence of evidence, to prove that the marks have been placed on the ballots by third persons other than the voters themselves. Petitioner likewise moved for a reconsideration of the decision with respect to the 111 ballots found by the trial court to have been written by two persons, but not so ruled upon by the Second Division, again in favor of private Respondent. Lastly, petitioner claimed that the Second Division erred in totally disregarding his other objections and therefore urged the COMELEC EN BANC to review the findings of the Second Division.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On January 25, 2000, the respondent COMELEC En Banc issued its Resolution denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration and affirming the ruling of the Second Division.

    In resolving petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration, the respondent COMELEC En Banc, in the herein assailed Resolution, said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . Protestant-appellee alleges that there were 124 ballots which were written by two (2) persons, and as such they should all be annulled. Instead, the Commission (Second Division) annulled only 13 ballots while validating 111 ballots in favor of protestee-appellant Hilario de Guzman, Jr. Movant contends that the 13 ballots commonly invalidated by both the COMELEC (Second Division) and the trial court as having been written by two persons were no different from the 111 ballots validated by the Commission (Second Division) but invalidated by the trial court.

    x       x       x


    ". . . The finding by the Commission (Second Division) that the 111 questioned ballots were written by the same person is a finding of fact that may not be the subject of a motion for reconsideration. Movant protestant-appellee is not challenging the sufficiency of the evidence in this instance but the appreciation thereof by the Commission (Second Division)." 1

    ". . . Movant protestant-appellee (also) contends that there were 120 ballots erroneously validated by the Commission (Second Division) which were admittedly marked. He argues that whenever ballots contain markings very obvious and visible on their faces, the presumption is that the said markings on the ballots were placed thereat by the voter themselves - thus nullifying the said ballots. Stated otherwise, protestant-appellee argues that the purported markings on the questioned ballots are presumed to have been placed there by the voters themselves and, unless proven otherwise, nullifies the ballots.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    "We disagree. The movant is relying on an erroneous and misleading presumption. The rule is that no ballot should be discarded as marked unless its character as such is unmistakable. The distinction should always be between marks that were apparently, carelessly, or innocently made, which do not invalidate the ballot, and marks purposely placed thereon by the voter with a view to possible future identification of the ballot, which invalidate it. (Cacho v. Abad, 62 Phil. 564). The marks which shall be considered sufficient to invalidate the ballot are those which the voter himself deliberately placed on his ballot for the purpose of identifying it thereafter (Valenzuela v. Carlos, 42 Phil. 428). In other words, a mark placed on the ballot by a person other than the voter himself does not invalidate the ballot as marked. (Tajanlangit v. Cazenas, 5 SCRA 567)" 2

    Hence, the present petition.

    Petitioner raises two issues:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Whether or not, the findings of fact of the COMELEC Division, especially so in matters of appreciation of ballots, is absolute and cannot be the subject of a Motion for Reconsideration before the COMELEC En Banc; and

    2. Whether or not, in appreciation of ballots, when a ballot is found to be marked, absent any evidence aliunde, there is the presumption that the markings were placed by a third person, and therefore, should not invalidate the ballot.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On the first issue, indeed, the COMELEC erred when it declared that

    ". . . it is emphatic that the grounds of motion for reconsideration should consist of insufficiency of evidence to justify the decision, order or ruling; or that the said decision, order or ruling is contrary to law. Nowhere in the provision can finding of fact be the subject of motion for reconsideration. The finding by the Commission (Second Division) that the 111 questioned ballots were written by the same person is a finding of fact that may not be the subject of a motion for reconsideration. Movant protestant-appellee is not challenging the sufficiency of the evidence in this instance but the appreciation thereof by the Commission (Second Division)." 3

    Section 1, Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Section 1. Grounds of Motion for Reconsideration. — A motion for reconsideration may be filed on the grounds that the evidence is insufficient to justify the decision, order or ruling; or that the said decision, order or ruling is contrary to law."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Commissioner Dy-Liacco, in her Dissenting Opinion, correctly opined, and we quote:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "I dissent in part from the majority conclusion that finding of facts on the one hundred eleven (111) questioned ballots cannot be the subject of a motion for reconsideration considering that the movant protestant-appellee ‘is not challenging the sufficiency of evidence in this instance but the appreciation thereof by the Commission (Second Division.)’ Protestant-Appellee in his discussion of his motion for reconsideration (p. 205 of the records of the case p. 24 of the MR pleading) imploring the Commission En Banc to review, re-examine and re-inspect the 111 ballots where the Trial Court and the Division disagreed and make its own final findings and determination, in effect disputes the ruling of the Second Division implying that the appreciation is contrary to law. Rule 19, Sec. 1 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure enumerates the grounds that may be raised in motions for reconsideration and one of which is that the decision, order or ruling is contrary to law. Insufficiency of evidence to justify the decision, order, or ruling is not the only ground for the filing of motions for reconsideration. . . .chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    "When protestant-appellee argued that the appreciation of the Division is erroneous, there is the implication that such finding or ruling is contrary to law and thus, may be a proper subject of a motion for reconsideration."cralaw virtua1aw library

    To determine the winning candidate, the application of election law and jurisprudence in appreciating the contested ballots, is essential. Any question on the appreciation of the ballots would directly affect the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the declared winner. As the Solicitor General submits in his comment on the petition, any question on the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the assailed decision, order or ruling of a COMELEC Division is also a proper subject of a motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en banc.

    Moreover, the opposing conclusions of the trial court and the COMELEC Second Division should have prompted the COMELEC en banc to undertake an independent appreciation of the contested ballots to see for itself which of the conflicting rulings is valid and should be upheld.

    Be that as it may, it is our considered opinion, and we rule, that the COMELEC en banc gravely abused its discretion in declaring that the COMELEC Division’s findings on the contested ballots are findings of facts "that may not be the subject of a motion for reconsideration" .chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On the second issue, petitioner argues that the findings, both by the trial court as well as the COMELEC’s Second Division, are similar- that said 120 ballots (Exhs "R," "R-1" and series) indeed, had markings but the trial court and the COMELEC Second Division differed in their conclusion. The trial court nullified the ballots (supposedly in favor of herein private respondent) for being admittedly marked. On the other hand, the Second Division declared the ballots valid because the marks were allegedly placed by third person/s, purposely to invalidate the ballots. Petitioner alleges that respondent COMELEC en banc gravely abused its discretion in presuming that the markings found on the ballots have been made by third persons, absent concrete evidence showing that they were placed by the voters themselves.

    Petitioner is correct that there is no such presumption in law. Instead, the legal presumption is that the sanctity of the ballot has been protected and preserved. Where the ballot, however, shows distinct and marked dissimilarities in the writing of the names of some candidates from the rest, the ballot is void for having been written by two hands. 4 A ballot appearing to have been written by two persons is presumed to have been cast "as is" during the voting, and this presumption can only be overcome by showing that the ballot was tampered with after it was deposited in the ballot box. 5

    If the COMELEC Second Division found markings in the contested 111 ballots that were placed by persons other than the voters themselves, then it should not have validated them. To rule the way it did, would require a showing that the integrity of ballots has not been violated. Otherwise, the presumption that they were placed "as is" in the ballot box stands.

    In his Comment, the Solicitor General raised the following significant questions: "In the absence of showing that the ballot boxes were violated and that somebody else had access to the ballots, how was the COMELEC able to conclude that indeed said marks were placed by persons other than the voters?" Indeed, the poll body is mum on how third persons were able to access the questioned ballots. Furthermore, the COMELEC Second Division neither made a categorical finding as to whether the different markings on the ballots were deliberately placed so as to sufficiently identify them or not. Yet, the COMELEC en banc simplistically concluded that there was "nothing left for . . . [it] but to affirm the VALIDITY of the questioned 120 ballots in favor of protestee-appellant Hilario de Guzman, Jr." chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In view of the foregoing circumstances, it appears that the COMELEC en banc was remiss in its duties to properly resolve the Motion for Reconsideration before it. It should have given a close scrutiny of the questioned ballots and determined for itself their validity, i.e., whether they were marked ballots or not. There is truly a need to actually examine the questioned ballots in order to ascertain the real nature of the alleged markings thereon. One has to see the writings to be able to determine whether they were written by different persons, and whether they were intended to identify the ballot.

    WHEREFORE, the case is hereby remanded to the COMELEC en banc for it to physically re-examine the contested ballots and ascertain their validity. It is further directed to resolve this case within thirty (30) days from receipt of this decision in view of the proximity of the next elections.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    This decision is immediately executory.

    SO ORDERED.

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Gonzaga-Reyes and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Ynares-Santiago, J., is on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. COMELEC Resolution dated January 25, 2000, pp. 4-5, Rollo, pp. 45-46.

    2. COMELEC Resolution dated January 25, 2000, pp. 3-4, Rollo, pp. 44-45.

    3. COMELEC Resolution dated January 25, 2000, pp. 4-5; Rollo, pp. 45-46.

    4. Rule 23, Sec 211, OEC; Protacio v. De Leon, 9 SCRA 472 [1963], Tajanlangit v. Cazenas, SCRA 567, [1962].

    5. Ruben E. Agpalo, Comments on the Omnibus Election Code, 1992 ed., p. 243, citing Gutierrez v. Reyes, February 28, 1959.

    G.R. No. 142038   September 18, 2000 - ROLANDO E. COLUMBRES v. COMELEC, ET AL.


    Back to Home | Back to Main

     

    QUICK SEARCH

    cralaw

       

    cralaw



     
      Copyright © ChanRobles Publishing Company Disclaimer | E-mail Restrictions
    ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™
     
    RED