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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
 

   
October-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. P-02-1548 October 1, 2003 - ROBERT E. VILLAROS v. RODOLFO ORPIANO

  • A.M. Nos. P-03-1697 & P-03-1699 October 1, 2003 - JOCELYN S. PAISTE v. APRONIANO V. MAMENTA

  • G.R. Nos. 133066-67 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO H. LAMBID

  • G.R. No. 137554 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHN MAMARION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148198 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELIZABETH CORPUZ

  • G.R. Nos. 150630-31 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JAIME OLAYBAR

  • G.R. No. 152176 October 1, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGER D. DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 154130 October 1, 2003 - BENITO ASTORGA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 156034 October 1, 2003 - DELSAN TRANSPORT LINES, INC. v. C & A CONSTRUCTION, INC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1803 October 2, 2003 - VICTOR A. ASLARONA v. ANTONIO T. ECHAVEZ

  • G.R. No. 128882 October 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL AYUDA

  • G.R. No. 145337 October 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEE HOI MING

  • G.R. No. 150382 October 2, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDDIE BASITE

  • A.C. No. 6061 October 3, 2003 - RAUL C. SANCHEZ v. SALUSTINO SOMOSO

  • A.M. MTJ-00-1311 October 3, 2003 - SILVESTRE H. BELLO III v. AUGUSTUS C. DIAZ, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1547 October 3, 2003 - LEOPOLDO V. CAÑETE v. NELSON MANLOSA

  • A.M. No. P-02-1550 October 3, 2003 - AMELIA L. AVELLANOSA v. JOSE Z. CAMASO

  • G.R. No. 118375 October 3, 2003 - CELESTINA T. NAGUIAT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122134 October 3, 2003 - ROMANA LOCQUIAO VALENCIA, ET AL. v. BENITO A. LOCQUIAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143388 October 6, 2003 - SPS. ROLANDO and ROSITA CRUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146569 October 6, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHN NEQUIA

  • A.M. Nos. P-03-1744–45 October 7, 2003 - FE ALBANO MADRID v. ANTONIO T. QUEBRAL

  • G.R. No. 135377 October 7, 2003 - DSR-SENATOR LINES, ET AL. v. FEDERAL PHOENIX ASSURANCE CO., INC.

  • G.R. No. 149453 October 7, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL. v. PANFILO M. LACSON

  • G.R. No. 149717 October 7, 2003 - EASTERN ASSURANCE & SURETY CORP. v. LTFRB

  • G.R. No. 155258 October 7, 2003 - CONRADO S. CANO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • A.C. No. 4881 October 8, 2003 - RAU SHENG MAO v. ANGELES A. VELASCO

  • G.R. No. 120864 October 8, 2003 - MANUEL T. DE GUIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136845 October 8, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GUILLERMO FLORENDO

  • G.R. No. 145166 October 8, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO ROMERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146118 October 8, 2003 - SAMUEL SAMARCA v. ARC-MEN INDUSTRIES, INC.

  • G.R. Nos. 148056-61 October 8, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE DE CASTRO

  • G.R. No. 149420 October 8, 2003 - SONNY LO v. KJS ECO-FORMWORK SYSTEM PHIL., INC.

  • G.R. No. 152776 October 8, 2003 - HENRY S. OAMINAL v. PABLITO M. CASTILLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153751 October 8, 2003 - MID PASIG LAND DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154579 October 8, 2003 - MA. LOURDES R. DE GUZMAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • A.M. No. P-96-1179 October 10, 2003 - WINSTON C. CASTELO v. CRISTOBAL C. FLORENDO

  • G.R. No. 110604 October 10, 2003 - BUENAVENTURA S. TENORIO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140917 October 10, 2003 - MENELIETO A. OLANDA v. LEONARDO G. BUGAYONG, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1640 October 13, 2003 - SAAD ANJUM v. CESAR L. ABACAHIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122765 October 13, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO L. VARGAS

  • G.R. No. 141942 October 13, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PONCE JAMON

  • G.R. No. 143842 October 13, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANGI L. ADAM

  • G.R. No. 144662 October 13, 2003 - SPS. EFREN AND DIGNA MASON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459 October 14, 2003 - IMELDA Y. MADERADA v. ERNESTO H. MEDIODEA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1674 October 14, 2003 - PABLO B. FRANCISCO v. OLIVIA M. LAUREL

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1805 October 14, 2003 - TEODORA A. RUIZ v. ROLANDO G. HOW

  • G.R. No. 153157 October 14, 2003 - PHILIPPINE AIRLINES v. ARTHUR B. TONGSON

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1697 October 15, 2003 - EUGENIO K. CHAN v. JOSE S. MAJADUCON

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1699 October 15, 2003 - VERNETTE UMALI-PACO, ET AL. v. REINATO G. QUILALA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1808 October 15, 2003 - RADELIA SY, ET AL. v. ANTONIO FINEZA

  • G.R. Nos. 123144, 123207 & 123536 October 15, 2003 - PABLO P. BURGOS, ET AL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126119 October 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. GILDO B. PELOPERO PNP

  • G.R. No. 130662 October 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERGIO ABON

  • G.R. No. 138364 October 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 142381 October 15, 2003 - PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142595 October 15, 2003 - RACHEL C. CELESTIAL v. JESSE CACHOPERO

  • G.R. Nos. 148139-43 October 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HERMENIO CANOY

  • G.R. No. 156273 October 15, 2003 - HEIRS OF TIMOTEO MORENO, ET AL. v. MACTAN-CEBU INT’L. AIRPORT AUTHORITY

  • A.M. No. SCC-00-6-P October 16, 2003 - RE: Ma. Corazon M. Molo

  • A.M. No. P-02-1592 October 16, 2003 - LUZITA ALPECHE v. EXPEDITO B. BATO

  • G.R. No. 141074 October 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NORLY LIBRADO

  • G.R. No. 144881 October 16, 2003 - BETTY T. CHUA v. ABSOLUTE MNGT. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 147650-52 October 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO S. PEPITO

  • G.R. No. 152492 October 16, 2003 - PALMA DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. MUN. OF MALANGAS

  • G.R. Nos. 153991-92 October 16, 2003 - ANWAR BERUA BALINDONG v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1475 October 17, 2003 - MANUEL R. AQUINO v. JOCELYN C. FERNANDEZ

  • G.R. No. 131399 October 17, 2003 - ANGELITA AMPARO GO v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 133759-60 October 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONITO LORENZO

  • G.R. Nos. 148673-75 October 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENCIO R. ABANILLA

  • G.R. No. 150286 October 17, 2003 - ELCEE FARMS, INC., ET AL. v. PAMPILO SEMILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142885 October 22, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM TIU, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1368 October 23, 2003 - JOSE GODOFREDO M. NAUI v. MARCIANO C. MAURICIO, SR.

  • G.R. No. 120409 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAMSON PICKRELL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120670 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HEDISHI SUZUKI

  • G.R. No. 125689 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO SATIOQUIA

  • G.R. No. 127153 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SATUR G. APOSAGA

  • G.R. No. 132788 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ISAIAS FERNANDEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134485 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR PEREZ

  • G.R. Nos. 134573-75 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE BINARAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136849 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR A. CODERES

  • G.R. No. 138456 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO P. DEDUYO

  • G.R. No. 140247 October 23, 2003 - ALEX ASUNCION, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143252 October 23, 2003 - CEBU MARINE BEACH RESORT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146368-69 October 23, 2003 - MADELEINE MENDOZA-ONG v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146608 October 23, 2003 - SPS. CONSTANTE & AZUCENA FIRME v. BUKAL ENTERPRISES AND DEV’T. CORP.

  • G.R. No. 147369 October 23, 2003 - SPS. PATRICK and RAFAELA JOSE v. SPS. HELEN and ROMEO BOYON

  • G.R. No. 147549 October 23, 2003 - JESUS DELA ROSA, ET AL. v. SANTIAGO CARLOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149149 October 23, 2003 - ERNESTO SYKI v. SALVADOR BEGASA

  • G.R. No. 149725 October 23, 2003 - OSCAR MAGNO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. Nos. 150493-95 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CIRILO MACABATA

  • G.R. No. 150946 October 23, 2003 - MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF GLAN, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152135 October 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCOS GIALOLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152716 October 23, 2003 - ELNA MERCADO-FEHR v. BRUNO FEHR

  • G.R. Nos. 154796-97 October 23, 2003 - RAYMUNDO A. BAUTISTA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155692 October 23, 2003 - PHIVIDEC INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. CAPITOL STEEL CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155717 October 23, 2003 - ALBERTO JARAMILLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1586 October 24, 2003 - THELMA C. BALDADO v. ARNULFO O. BUGTAS

  • G.R. No. 119775 October 24, 2003 - JOHN HAY PEOPLES ALTERNATIVE COALITION, ET AL. v. VICTOR LIM, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119847 October 24, 2003 - JENNY ZACARIAS v. NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137597 October 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON S. NAVARRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141615 October 24, 2003 - MAC ADAMS METAL ENGINEERING WORKERS UNION-INDEPENDENT, ET AL. v. MAC ADAMS METAL ENGINEERING, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144439 October 24, 2003 - SOUTHEAST ASIA SHIPPING CORP. v. SEAGULL MARITIME CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148120 October 24, 2003 - RODRIGO QUIRAO, ET AL. v. LYDIA QUIRAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148597 October 24, 2003 - GRACE F. MUNSAYAC-DE VILLA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152285 October 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE OBESO

  • G.R. Nos. 152589 and 152758 October 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO MENDOZA

  • G.R. No. 153828 October 24, 2003 - LINCOLN L. YAO v. NORMA C. PERELLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139181 October 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY AQUINO

  • G.R. No. 143817 October 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO BAJAR

  • A.C. No. 5829 October 28, 2003 - DANIEL LEMOINE v. AMADEO E. BALON, JR.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1581 October 28, 2003 - MA. CORAZON M. ANDAL v. NICOLAS A. TONGA

  • G.R. No. 134563 October 28, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FRANCISCO DALA

  • G.R. No. 138933 October 28, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JERRYVIE D. GUMAYAO

  • G.R. No. 150540 October 28, 2003 - DIMALUB P. NAMIL, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 155206 October 28, 2003 - GSIS v. EDUARDO M. SANTIAGO

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 155717   October 23, 2003 - ALBERTO JARAMILLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 155717. October 23, 2003.]

    ALBERTO JARAMILLA, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ANTONIO SUYAT, MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF STA. CRUZ, ILOCOS SUR, THE NEW MUNICIPAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS (COMELEC), AND IRENEO CORTEZ, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N


    AZCUNA, J.:


    For review before the Court is the instant petition for certiorari 1 with prayer for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction ascribing grave abuse of discretion to public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in issuing its en banc resolution dated October 24, 2002.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The antecedent facts, as summarized in the COMELEC resolution, 2 are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    [Respondent] Antonio Suyat and [petitioner] Alberto J. Jaramilla both ran for the position of Member of the Sangguniang Bayan in the Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur in the May 14, 2001 elections.

    On May 16, 2001, the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Sta. Cruz, proclaimed the winning candidates for the offices of Mayor, Vice-Mayor and eight (8) members of the Sangguniang Bayan. The Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation shows the following results and ranking with respect to the members of the Sangguniang Bayan, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Name of Candidates Total Votes Obtained

    1. RAGUCOS, Ma. Luisa Laxamana 6,324

    2. ABAYA, Juan Jr., Andaquig 6,013

    3. GINES, Fidel Cudiamat 5,789

    4. QUILOP, Renato Avila 5,227

    5. BILIGAN, Osias Depdepen 5,130

    6. RUIZ, Agustin Turgano 4,972

    7. JARAMILLA, Alberto Jimeno 4,815

    8. CORTEZ, Ireneo Habon 4,807

    In the tabulated results issued by the Election Officer and Chairperson of the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Sta. Cruz, it is shown that [respondent Suyat] obtained Four thousand seven hundred seventy nine (4,779) votes and was ranked no. 9.

    Upon review by [respondent Suyat], he discovered that [petitioner] was credited with only twenty three (23) votes per Election Return from Precinct No. 34A1. However, when the figures were forwarded to the Statement of Votes by Precinct, [petitioner] was credited with seventy three (73) votes for Precinct No. 34A1 or fifty (50) votes more than what he actually obtained. If the entry were to be corrected, the affected candidates would be ranked as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    7. CORTEZ, Ireneo Habon 4,807

    8. SUYAT, Antonio 4,779

    9. JARAMILLA, Alberto 4,765

    On June 13, 2001, respondent Suyat filed before the COMELEC en banc an Urgent Motion for Issuance of Order to Reconvene, 3 which the latter treated as a Petition for Correction of Manifest Error. Petitioner countered in his Answer 4 that said petition should be dismissed for having been filed out of time and for lack of the required certification of non-forum shopping.

    On October 24, 2002, COMELEC en banc issued the assailed resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads: 5

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion/Petition is hereby GRANTED. The proclamation of Respondent ALBERTO J. JARAMILLA [herein petitioner] is ANNULLED. A New Municipal Board of Canvassers is hereby created composed of the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Atty. NELIA AUREUS — Chairman

    Atty. MICHAEL D. DIONEDA — Vice Chairman

    Atty. ALLEN FRANCIS F. ABAYA — Member

    The New Board is hereby directed to immediately convene at the Comelec Session Hall, Intramuros, Manila, after due notice to parties and effect a correction in the entry in the Statement of Votes by Precinct particularly the votes for Respondent Alberto Jaramilla [herein petitioner], who should be credited with twenty three (23) votes only. Thereafter, the New Board shall prepare a corrected Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation on the basis of the New Statement of Votes and proclaim the Petitioner [herein private respondent Suyat] as the eighth (8th) Board Member of Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur. Mr. Ireneo Habon Cortez shall be declared the 7th Municipal Board Member. The New Board shall use the Comelec copies of the election returns and Statement of Votes pertaining to the instant case.

    SO ORDERED.

    Hence the present recourse by petitioner anchored on the following grounds:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I. THAT THE COMMISSION ON ELECTION ERRED IN NOT DISMISSING THE CASE CONSIDERING THAT THE PETITION FILED BEFORE THE COMELEC WAS FILED BEYOND THE PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD AS SET FORTH IN THE COMELEC RULES OF PROCEDURE.

    II. THAT THE COMMISSION ON ELECTION ERRED IN GIVING DUE COURSE TO THE PETITION INSTEAD OF DISMISSING IT CONSIDERING THAT THE PETITION LACKED A CERTIFICATION AGAINST FORUM-SHOPPING.

    III. THAT THE COMMISSION ON ELECTION ERRED IN NOT DISMISSING THE CASE FOR FAILURE TO PAY THE DOCKET OR FILING FEE ON TIME. 6

    Before discussing the merits, although not raised in the petition, the Court deems it appropriate to discuss the jurisdiction of the COMELEC en banc in election cases. Article IX-C of the Constitution states in part that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Sec. 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 Commission en banc. 7

    As stated in the provision, and in line with the Court’s recent pronouncement in Milla v. Balmores-Laxa, 8 election cases including pre-proclamation controversies should first be heard and decided by a division of the COMELEC, and then by the commission en banc if a motion for reconsideration of the division is filed.

    It must be noted however that this provision applies only in cases where the COMELEC exercises its adjudicatory or quasi-judicial powers, and not when it merely exercises purely administrative functions. This doctrine was laid out in Castromayor v. COMELEC, 9 and reiterated in subsequent cases. 10 Accordingly, when the case demands only the exercise by the COMELEC of its administrative functions, such as the correction of a manifest mistake in the addition of votes or an erroneous tabulation in the statement of votes, the COMELEC en banc can directly act on it in the exercise of its constitutional function to decide questions affecting elections. 11

    The Petition for Correction of Manifest Errors in the case at bar alleges an erroneous copying of figures from the election return to the Statement of Votes by Precinct. Such an error in the tabulation of the results, which merely requires a clerical correction without the necessity of opening ballot boxes or examining ballots, demands only the exercise of the administrative power of the COMELEC. Hence, the Commission en banc properly assumed original jurisdiction over the aforesaid petition.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Now we proceed to the merits of the case.

    Petitioner bewails the fact that the COMELEC took cognizance of respondent Suyat’s petition for correction despite its having been filed beyond the 5-day reglementary period fixed in the COMELEC Rules of Procedure and its lack of certification against forum-shopping. 12

    Petitioner overlooks the fact that the COMELEC has the discretion to suspend its rules or any portion thereof in the interest of justice. Section 4, Rule 1 of the COMELEC Rules expressly provides that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SEC. 4. Suspension of the Rules. — In the interest of justice and in order to obtain speedy disposition of all matters pending before the commission, these rules or any portion thereof may be suspended by the Commission.

    The COMELEC therefore has authority to suspend the reglementary periods provided by the rules, or the requirement of certification of non-forum shopping for that matter, in the interest of justice and speedy resolution of the cases before it. 13

    Petitioner next points out respondent Suyat’s omission to pay the prescribed filing fees.

    As correctly pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General, the COMELEC is not constrained to dismiss a case before it by reason of non-payment of filing fees. 14 Section 18, Rule 40 the COMELEC Rules of Procedure states:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SEC. 18. Nonpayment of Prescribed Fees. — If the fees above prescribed are not paid, the Commission may refuse to take action thereon until they are paid and may dismiss the action or the proceeding. 15

    The use of the word "may" in the aforecited provision readily shows that the COMELEC is conferred the discretion whether to entertain the petition or not in case of non-payment of legal fees. 16 And even if it were not afforded such discretion, as discussed above, it is authorized to suspend its rules or any portion thereof in the interest of justice. 17

    It is noteworthy that petitioner only raised issues on the foregoing technicalities, without questioning the COMELEC’s finding of manifest error in the tabulation of votes. Even at the COMELEC stage, his denial in his Answer 18 was unsubstantiated by any rebuttal evidence to disprove the submitted photocopies of the election returns and statement of votes, which clearly showed the erroneous addition of 50 votes in his favor. The COMELEC’s unquestioned findings of fact are therefore sustained. The Court reiterates that factual findings of the COMELEC based on its own assessments and duly supported by evidence, are given conclusive weight in the absence of arbitrariness or grave abuse of discretion. 19

    Laws governing election contests must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere technical objections. 20 Adherence to technicality that would put a stamp on a palpably void proclamation, with the inevitable result of frustrating the people’s will, can never be countenanced. 21

    WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by public respondent COMELEC, its Resolution en banc dated October 24, 2002 is AFFIRMED. The petition is DISMISSED.

    No pronouncement as to costs.

    SO ORDERED.cralaw : red

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio Morales, Callejo, Sr. and Tinga, JJ., concur.

    Ynares-Santiago, J., on official leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Filed under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

    2. Rollo, pp. 36-37.

    3. Id., at 46-48.

    4. Id., at 57-63.

    5. Id., at 43-44.

    6. Id., at 9-10.

    7. Emphasis supplied.

    8. G.R. No. 151216, July 18, 2003.

    9. 250 SCRA 298 (1995).

    10. Baytan v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 153945, February 4, 2003; O’hara v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 148941-42, March 12, 2002; Canicosa v. COMELEC, 282 SCRA 512 (1997).

    11. Canicosa v. COMELEC, supra, note 10 citing Castromayor v. COMELEC, supra, note 9.

    12. Section 5(2), Rule 27 of the 1993 COMELEC RULES OF PROCEDURE provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Sec. 5. Pre-proclamation Controversies Which May Be Filed Directly With the Commission. —

    x       x       x


    (b) . . . If the petition is for correction, it must be filed not later than five (5) days following the date of proclamation and must implead all candidates who may be adversely affected thereby.

    13. Barot v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 149147, June 18, 2003.

    14. Rollo, p. 89.

    15. Emphasis supplied.

    16. Sunga v. COMELEC, 288 SCRA 76 (1998); Barot v. COMELEC, supra, note 13.

    17. Barot v. COMELEC, supra, note 13.

    18. Rollo, p. 59.

    19. Alvarez v. COMELEC, 353 SCRA 434 (2001).

    20. Tatlonghari v. COMELEC, 199 SCRA 849 (1991).

    21. Milla v. Balmores-Laxa, supra, note 8.

    G.R. No. 155717   October 23, 2003 - ALBERTO JARAMILLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.


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