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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
 

   
December-2008 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 6713 - ZENAIDA B. GONZALES v. ATTY. NARCISO PADIERNOS

  • A.C. No. 6882 - MARISA B. WILLIAMS, ET AL. v. ATTY. RODRIGO ICAO

  • A.M. No. 05-12-372-MTCC - RE: JUDGE HECTOR B. BARILLO, ETC. v. CLERK OF COURT CARMEL A. CUIZON, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 05-2002 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 01-1245-P - SANTIAGO B. BURGOS v. VICKY A. BAES, ETC.

  • A.M. No. 06-3-196-RTC and A.M. No. 06-7-416-RTC - LETTER OF JUDGE JOSEFINA D. FARRALES, ACTING PRESIDING JUDGE, RTC, BR. 72, OLONGAPO CITY RE: 30 CASES AND 84 MOTIONS SUBMITTED FOR DECISION

  • A.M. OCA No. CA-02-16-P Formerly OCA IPI No. 00-27-CA-P - ANNA LIZA REYES-TAYAG v. ABELARDO TAYAG, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. CA-08-23-P Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-79-CA-P - JANETTE P. GABATIN v. MARILOU M. QUIRINO

  • A.M. No. MTJ-92-687 - ENGR. EDGARDO C. GARCIA v. JUDGE MELJOHN DE LA PE√ĎA

  • A.M. No. P-04-1793 - RAUL ZAMUDIO v. EFREN AURO

  • A.M. No. P-04-180 Formerly OCA-I.P.I. No. 03-1714-P and A.M. NO. P-02-1653 Formerly A.M. No. 02-9-237-MCTC - TERESITA RETAZO v. LORNA A. VERDON, ETC.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2152 Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-1944-P - EMILY G. CRUZ v. PABLO F. FERNANDO

  • A.M. No. P-06-2207 - MA. LOURDES V. AREOLA, ET AL. v. OSCAR P. PATAG

  • A.M. No. P-06-2237 - PAG-ASA G. BELTRAN v. ROMEO MONTEROSO

  • A.M. No. P-08-2587 Formerly OCA IPI No. 99-678-P - DOMINGA C. MENOR v. TEODORA P. GUILLERMO, ETC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1762 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 02-1422-RTJ - SERGIO & GRACELDA N. ANDRES v. JUDGE JOSE S. MAJADUCON, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1952 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE NORMA C. PERELLO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-07-2092 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2685-RTJ - EVA LUCIA Z. GEROY v. HON. DAN R. CALDERON

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1911 Formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 02-9-540-RTC and A.M. NO. RTJ-05-1913 Formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 02-1548-RTJ - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE RODRIGO B. LORENZO, ETC.

  • G.R. No. 124795 - FORFOM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RAILWAYS

  • G.R. No. 136197 - NATIVIDAD BAUTISTA-BORJA v. ILUMINADA BAUTISTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141309 - LIWAYWAY VINZONS-CHATO v. FORTUNE TOBACCO CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 143365 - GENEROSO SALIGUMBA, ET AL. v. MONICA PALANOG

  • G.R. No. 144492 - LUWALHATI R. ANTONINO v. HON. OMBUDSMAN ANIANO A. DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 145941 - THE MANILA BANKING CORPORATION v. SPS. ALFREDO AND CELESTINA RABINA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152150 - SPS. REYNALDO O. PADUA, ETC., ET AL. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154108 and G.R. NO. 157505 - FIRST UNITED CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION v. MENANDRO G. VALDEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155454 - EDUARDO COLMENARES, ET AL. v. HEIRS OF ROSARIO VDA DE GONZALES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156040 - DIGITAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHILIPPINES, INC. v. CITY GOVT OF BATANGAS ETC. ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156382 - MCDONALD'S KATIPUNAN BRANCH, ETC. v. MA. DULCE ALBA

  • G.R. No. 157784 - RICHARD B. LOPEZ, ETC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158621 - ROYAL CARGO CORPORATION v. DFS SPORTS UNLIMITED, INC.

  • G.R. No. 159132 - FE CAYAO-LASAM v. SPOUSES CLARO & EDITHA RAMOLETE

  • G.R. No. 159589 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HEIRS OF JUAN FABIO ETC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160031 - SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY v. HON. JOSE D. LINA ETC. ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 161844 - RAFAEL M. CONCEPCION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 162311 - LEVI STRAUSS (PHILS.), INC. v. TONY LIM

  • G.R. No. 162333 - BIENVENIDO C. TEOCO, ET AL. v. METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY

  • G.R. NOS. 162335 & 162605 - SEVERINO M. MANOTOK IV, ET AL. v. HEIRS OF HOMER L. BARQUE, ETC.

  • G.R. No. 162335 / G.R. No. 162605 - G.R. No. 162335 and G.R. No. 162605 - YNARES-SANTIAGO - DISSENTING OPINION

  • G.R. No. 162335 / G.R. No. 162605 - G.R. No. 162335 and G.R. No. 162605 - CARPIO - SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION

  • G.R. No. 162335 / G.R. No. 162605 - G.R. No. 162335 and G.R. No. 162605 - CORONA - SEPARATE OPINION

  • G.R. No. 162729 - SOLEDAD LEONOR PENA SUATENGCO, ET AL. v. CARMENCITA O. REYES

  • G.R. No. 163156 and G.R. NO. 166845 - NEGROS NAVIGATION CO., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 163898 - ROBERTO BARBASA v. HON. ARTEMIO G. TUQUERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164026 - SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION v. GMA NETWORK, INC.

  • G.R. No. 164344 - KENJI OKADA v. SECURITY PACIFIC ASSURANCE CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 164521 - ALLANDALE SPORTSLINE, INC., ET AL. v. THE GOOD DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 164820 - VICTORY LINER, INC. v. PABLO RACE

  • G.R. No. 167011 - SPS. CARLOS S. ROMUALDEZ, ETC. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167181 - SPS. CARLOS MUNSALUD AND WINNIE MUNSALUD v. NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY

  • G.R. No. 167449 - BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB (PHIL.), INC. v. RICHARD NIXON A BABAN

  • G.R. No. 168173 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. F01 FELIPE DELA CRUZ Y REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168537 - DAMIAN AKLAN, ET AL. v. SAN MIGUEL CORP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168695 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIBEL LAGMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168906 - PERLA S. ESGUERRA v. JUDGE FATIMA GONZALES-ASDALA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 169013 - DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, ETC. v. GODOFREDO G. CUANAN

  • G.R. No. 169095 - HEUNGHWA INDUSTRY CO., LTD. v. DJ BUILDERS CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 169498 - OSCAR DE LOS SANTOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 170116 - ATTY. CAROLINA R. RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 170282 - ALEXANDER AND JEAN J. BACUNGAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 170338 and G.R. NO. 179275 - VIRGILIO O. GARCILLANO v. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEES ON PUBLIC INFORMATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 171321 - MARY ANN DEHEZA-INAMARGA v. CELENIA C. ALANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 171654 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDWIN GAYETA Y ROBLO ALIAS "FREDDIE"

  • G.R. No. 171678 - ROSA J. SALES, ET AL. v. WILLIAM BARRO

  • G.R. No. 171812 - REMIA F. BONCALON v. OMBUDSMAN (VISAYAS), ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 171947-48 - METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. RESIDENTS OF MANILA BAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172041 - GATEWAY ELECTRONICS CORPORATION, ET AL. v. ASIANBANK CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 172192 - CHINA BANKING CORPORATION v. ASB HOLDINGS, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172295 - LILIA P. LABADAN v. FOREST HILLS ACADEMY/NAOMI CABALUNA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172457 - CJH DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172776 - COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION v. ATTY. FELINA S. DASIG

  • G.R. No. 172848 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE VICTORINO K. CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172849 - MR. TERESO TAN, ET AL. v. MANUEL "GUY" LINK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 172874 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIO CASTRO

  • G.R. No. 172973 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARCELINO ABARE

  • G.R. No. 173052 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROGELIO PELAGIO Y BERMUDO

  • G.R. No. 173473 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BETH TEMPORADA

  • G.R. No. 173473 - G.R. No. 173473 - AZCUNA - SEPARATE DISSENTING OPINION

  • G.R. No. 173473 - G.R. No. 173473 - VELASCO, JR. - DISSENTING OPINION

  • G.R. No. 173473 - G.R. No. 173473 - CORONA - SEPARATE OPINION

  • G.R. No. 173804 - ELPIDIO BONDAD, JR. Y BURAC v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. NOS. 173935-38 - ERLINDA K. ILUSORIO v. MA. ERLINDA I. BILDNER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 174103 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WEST NEGROS COLLEGE, INC.

  • G.R. No. 174109 - RURAL BANK OF THE SEVEN LAKES (S.P.C.), INC. v. BELEN A. DAN

  • G.R. No. 174136 - PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. NASIPIT INTEGRATED ARRASTRE AND STEVEDORING SERVICES, INC.

  • G.R. No. 174195 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CATALINO MINGMING Y DISCALSO

  • G.R. No. 174371 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WARREN DELA CRUZ Y FRANCISCO

  • G.R. No. 174988 - BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS v. SPS. HOMOBONO AND LUZDELDIA T. ARAMPI

  • G.R. No. 175339 - PREMIERE DEVELOPMENT BANK v. ALFREDO C. FLORES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 175527 - HON. GABRIEL LUIS QUISUMBING, ET AL. v. HON. GWENDOLYN F. GARCIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 175554 - EDSEL LIGA v. ALLEGRO RESOURCES CORP.

  • G.R. No. 175929 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMMEL DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 176141 - GERTRUDES NABUA, ET AL. v. DOUGLAS LU YM

  • G.R. No. 176219 - RENTOKIL (INITIAL) PHILIPPINES, INC. AND/OR RONAN GREANY, ET AL. v. LEILANI D. SANCHEZ

  • G.R. No. 176263 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MICHAEL MURO

  • G.R. No. 176609 - FERNANDO ESTABAS MAHAWAN ALIAS PADO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 176970 - ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

  • G.R. No. 176981 - EDGAR GERASTA Y LAPUS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 177188 - EL GRECO SHIP MANNING AND MANAGEMENT CORPORATION v. COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS

  • G.R. No. 177656 - LINDA UY LIM v. HELEN O. TONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 177742 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSELITO A. LOPIT

  • G.R. No. 177797 - SPOUSES PEDRO TAN AND NENA ACERO TAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 177931 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. DEANG MARKETING CORP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 177944 - JUDITH P. ORTEGA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 178198 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EVELYN BOHOL y TALAOGAN, ETC.

  • G.R. No. 178233 and G.R. NO. 180510 - JOSEPH A. GANDOL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 178306 - FRANCISCO R. NUNGA, JR., ET AL. v. FRANCISCO N. NUNGA, III

  • G.R. No. 178511 - MA. BELEN FLORDELIZA C. ANG-ABAYA, ET AL. v. EDUARDO G. ANG

  • G.R. No. 179127 - IN-N-OUT BURGER, INC. v. SEHWANI, INC. AND/OR BENITA'S FRITES, INC.

  • G.R. No. 179174 - REYNALDO MADRIGALEJOS v. GEMINILOU TRUCKING SERVICE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179695 and G.R. No. 182369 - MIKE A. FERMIN v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179813 - DATU PAX PAKUNG S. MANGUDADATU v. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179878 - NEGROS ORIENTAL PLANTERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (NOPA) v. HON. PRESIDING JUDGE OF RTC-NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, BRANCH 52, BACOLOD CITY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179895 - FERDINAND S. TOPACIO v. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN GREGORY SANTOS ONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179898 - MAUNLAD HOMES, INC., ET AL. v. UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 179922 - JUAN DE DIOS CARLOS v. FELICIDAD SANDOVAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180051 - NARDO M. VELASCO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180146 - P02 RUEL C. MONTOYA v. POLICE DIRECTOR REYNALDO P. VARILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180501 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROGER MENDOZA Y DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 180730 - CARLOS GONZALES v. HON. JUDGE MERCEDES POSADA LACAP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180926 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LOURDES V ALENCIANO Y DACUBA

  • G.R. No. 180986 - NORBERTO ALTRES, ET AL. v. CAMILO G. EMPLEO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 181492 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SAMUEL OBMIRANIS y ORETA

  • G.R. No. 181644 - HERMILINA N. ABAINZA v. ERNESTO ARELLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 181818 - EDGAR PERPETUO FERMIN E. HIPOL v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION-FIFTH DIVISION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 182248 - EQUITABLE PCI BANKING CORPORATION, ET AL. v. RCBC CAPITAL CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 182865 - ROMULO F. PECSON v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 182924 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE PEREZ Y DALEGDEG

  • G.R. No. 183087 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. IGNACIO ISANG Y LAGAY

  • G.R. No. 183456 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REGINO TORMIS

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    G.R. No. 181644 - HERMILINA N. ABAINZA v. ERNESTO ARELLANO, ET AL.

      G.R. No. 181644 - HERMILINA N. ABAINZA v. ERNESTO ARELLANO, ET AL.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. NO. 181644 : December 8, 2008]

    HERMILINA N. ABAINZA, Petitioner, v. ERNESTO ARELLANO and COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondents.

    R E S O L U T I O N

    NACHURA, J.:

    Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari1 assailing the Resolutions of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) dated September 3, 2007 and January 30, 2008, respectively.

    The Facts

    Private respondent Ernesto C. Arellano and petitioner Hermilina N. Abainza were among the candidates for the position of member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Jovellar, Albay, in the May 14, 2007 synchronized national and local elections.

    On May 15, 2007, the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed the following as the duly elected members of the Sangguniang Bayan:

    Winning Candidates

    Votes Obtained

    1. Mirabete, Moises

    4,111

    2. Vibar, Eddie Ll.

    3,604

    3. Quirona, Felipe M.

    3,589

    4. Nobleza, Jose Jr. A.

    3,414

    5. Romualdo, Victor M.

    3,119

    6. Millano, Precioso O.

    3,107

    7. Lovendino, Wiro A.

    3,018

    8. Abainza, Hermelina N.

    3,014

    Private respondent received 2,983 votes and held the 9th spot.

    On May 21, 2007, private respondent filed a petition for correction of the number of votes in Clustered Precinct Nos. 46-A/47-A due to erroneous tally. Meanwhile, on June 29, 2007, petitioner took her oath of office.

    On September 3, 2007, the COMELEC 1st Division rendered a Resolution2 annulling the proclamation of petitioner as councilor of the Municipality of Jovellar, Albay, due to erroneous tally of votes. Election Return No. 2900930 from Clustered Precinct Nos. 46-A/47-A showed a tally of one hundred fourteen (114) votes in favor of private respondent but indicated a corresponding total in words and figures of only fourteen (14) votes. The said election return was counterchecked with the copy of the Election Records and Statistical Division, and the members of the Board of Election Inspectors executed an affidavit admitting the clerical error in the canvass of votes.

    Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. However, the COMELEC en banc denied the same in a Resolution3 dated January 30, 2008.

    Hence, this petition.

    The Issues

    Petitioner raised the following issues for resolution, viz.:

    (1) Whether the COMELEC has original jurisdiction over the petition for correction of manifest error;4 and

    (2) Whether the COMELEC erred in granting the petition for correction of manifest error which was in the nature of a pre-proclamation controversy despite the proclamation and oath by petitioner as elected councilor.5

    The Ruling of the Court

    We resolve to dismiss the petition on the following grounds:

    First, the COMELEC is empowered by the Constitution to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election.6 It exercises exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials.7 In relation thereto, it is empowered to promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies.8

    Section 5, Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides:

    Sec. 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:

    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 has 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.9

    Under this rule, correction of manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of results during the canvassing may be filed directly with the Commission, even after a proclamation of the winning candidates. In the instant case, the proclamation of petitioner as councilor of the Municipality of Jovellar, Albay, was due to a manifest error when what was entered in the election return was 14 instead of 114 as the number of votes obtained by private respondent.

    A "manifest error" is one that is visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding; that which is open, palpable, incontrovertible, needing no evidence to make it more clear.10 As stated in the assailed Resolution of the COMELEC, the error in the entry in the election return is very evident to the eye, needing no evidence to make it clear. Petitioner's proclamation, and eventual assumption of office, was predicated on a clerical and "manifest" error, not on the legitimate will of the electorate.

    Despite the proclamation of the winning candidates, the COMELEC still has jurisdiction to correct manifest errors in the election returns for the Sangguniang Bayan candidates. Section 7 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides for the correction of errors in tabulation or tallying of results by the Board of Canvassers, viz.:

    Sec. 7. Correction of Errors in Tabulation or Tallying of Results by the Board of Canvassers. - (a) Where it is clearly shown before proclamation that manifest errors were committed in the tabulation or tallying of election returns, or certificates of canvass, during the canvassing as where (1) a copy of the election returns of one precinct or two or more copies of a certificate of canvass were tabulated more than once, (2) two copies of the election returns or certificate of canvass were tabulated separately, (3) there was a mistake in the adding or copying of the figures into the certificate of canvass or into the statement of votes by precinct, or (4) so-called election returns from non-existent precincts were included in the canvass, the board may motu proprio, or upon verified petition by any candidate, political party, organization or coalition or political parties, after due notice and hearing, correct the errors committed.11

    It is true that this provision deals with pre-proclamation controversies. However, it has also been held applicable to cases when a proclamation had already been made, where the validity of the candidate's proclamation was precisely in question.12 After all, the election returns that are later on reflected in the statement of votes form the basis of the certificate of canvass and of the proclamation. Any error in the election returns ultimately affects the validity of the proclamation.

    With the finding by the COMELEC of a manifest error in Election Return No. 2900930 from Clustered Precinct Nos. 46-A/47-A, petitioner's proclamation was, therefore, flawed from the very beginning. It was not a valid proclamation. And when a proclamation is null and void, the proclamation is no proclamation at all; thus, the proclaimed candidate's assumption of office cannot deprive the COMELEC of the power to declare such nullity and annul the proclamation.13

    In Duremdes v. Commission on Elections,14 it was Duremdes' submission that his proclamation could not be declared null and void because a pre-proclamation controversy was not proper after a proclamation had been made, the proper recourse being an election protest. However, the Court ruled that Duremdes' contention was proper only if there had been a valid proclamation.

    Second, petitioner maintains that private respondent should have filed a pre-proclamation controversy before the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Jovellar, Albay, during the canvassing and not with the COMELEC eight (8) days after her proclamation.15

    Under Section 5(b), Rule 27 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, petitions for correction of manifest errors before the Commission must be filed not later than five (5) days following the date of proclamation. Indeed, private respondent failed to file his petition for manifest error on time. Nonetheless, the COMELEC committed no reversible error in granting his petition. Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 1 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides:

    Sec. 3. Construction. - These rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote the effective and efficient implementation of the objectives of ensuring the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections and to achieve just, expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the Commission.

    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.

    Clearly, then, the COMELEC has the discretion to construe its rules liberally and, at the same time, suspend the rules or any portion thereof in the interest of justice.16 That is what the COMELEC has done in this case.

    We have consistently held that election laws should be construed liberally to give effect to the popular will, without resort to technicalities. The court frowns upon any interpretation of election laws that would hinder in any way not only the free and intelligent casting of votes in an election but also the correct ascertainment of the results.17

    In the instant case, petitioner does not dispute the finding of the COMELEC on the error in the total number of votes reflected in the election return. Petitioner raises only purely technical objections. Considering that the will of the electorate is of paramount importance and should be upheld, technicalities must yield.

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

    SO ORDERED.


    Endnotes:


    * On leave.

    1 Under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

    2 Penned by Commissioner Romeo A. Brawner, with Presiding Commissioner Resurrection Z. Borra, concurring; rollo, pp. 19-25.

    The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission (First Division) hereby AFFIRMS the proclamation of LOVINDINO WIRO as a winning candidate for the position of member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Jovellar, Albay, SAVE the indication in the Certificate of Canvass Votes and Proclamation of the Winning Candidates for the Municipal Offices of the same municipality that he garnered the seventh highest number of votes.

    The proclamation of HERMILINA N. ABAINZA as a winning candidate for the same position is hereby ANNULLED, the same being based on an erroneous tally.

    The Municipal Board of Canvassers of Jovellar, Albay is hereby DIRECTED to RECONVENE within five (5) days after this Resolution shall have become final and, after notice to the parties and hearing in accordance with Rule 27, Section 7 of the Commission on Elections Rules of Procedure, to effect the necessary corrections, if any, in Election Return No. 2900930 for Clustered Precinct Nos. 46-A/47-A and, based on the amended results, proclaim the winning candidates for the seventh and eighth slots for members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Jovellar, Albay.

    SO ORDERED.

    3 Rollo, pp. 30-34.

    4 Id. at 8.

    5 Id.

    6 CONSTITUTION, Article IX(C), Section 2(1).

    7 CONSTITUTION, Article IX(C), Section 2(2).

    8 CONSTITUTION, Article IX(C), Section 3.

    9 Emphasis supplied.

    10 O'Hara v. COMELEC, 428 Phil. 1051 (2002).

    11 Emphasis supplied.

    12 Cumigad v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 167314, March 20, 2007, 518 SCRA 562, citing Torres v. COMELEC, 337 Phil. 363, 250 SCRA 298 (1995) and Castromayor v. COMELEC, 320 Phil. 363, 250 SCRA 298 (1995).

    13 Suliguin v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 166046, March 23, 2006, 485 SCRA 227; Duremdes v. COMELEC, G.R. NOS. 86362-63, October 27, 1989, 178 SCRA 746.

    14 Suliguin v. COMELEC, supra; Duremdes v. COMELEC, supra.

    15 Petition for Certiorari, rollo, p. 13.

    16 Suliguin v. COMELEC, supra note 13.

    17 Cumigad v. COMELEC, supra note 12.

    G.R. No. 181644 - HERMILINA N. ABAINZA v. ERNESTO ARELLANO, ET AL.


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