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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
December-2009 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 7054 - Conrado N. Que v. Atty. Anastacio Revilla, Jr.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2600 - Emma B. Ramos v. Apollo R. Ragot

  • A.M. No. P-09-2636 Formerly OCA IPI No. 07-2681-P - Atty. Eduardo Francisco v. Liza O. Galvez

  • A.M. No. P-09-2676 - Judge Juanita T. Guerrero v. Teresita V. Ong

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1953 - Mayor Hadji Amer R. Sampiano, et al. v. Judge Cader P. Indar, Acting Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Br. 12, Malabang, Lanao del Sur

  • A.M. No. RTJ-07-2055 - Heir of the late Rev. Fr. Jose O. Aspiras v. Judge Clifton U. Ganay, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial court, Branch 31, Agoo, La Union

  • A.M. No. RTJ-09-2170 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 09-3094-RTJ - Heirs of Simeon Piedad, namely, Eliseo Piedad, et al. v. Executive Judge Cesar O. Estrena and Judge Gaudiso D. Villarin

  • G.R. No. 146548 : December 18, 2009 - HEIRS OF DOMINGO HERNANDEZ, SR., namely: SERGIA V. HERNANDEZ (Surviving Spouse), DOMINGO V. HERNANDEZ, JR., and MARIA LEONORA WILMA HERNANDEZ, Petitioners, v. PLARIDEL MINGOA, SR., DOLORES CAMISURA, MELANIE MINGOA AND

  • G.R. No. 147951 - Arsenio F. Olegario, et al. v. Pedro C. Mari, represented by Lilia C. Mari-Camba

  • G.R. No. 155125 - YSS Employees Union-Philippine Transport and General Organization v. YSS Laboratories, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 156208 - NPC Drivers and Mechanics Association, et al. v. The National Power Corporation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 149548, G.R. No. 167505, G.R. No. 167540, G.R. No. 167543, G.R. No. 167845, G.R. No. 169163 and G.R. No. 179650 - ROXAS and COMPANY, INC. v. DAMBA-NFSW AND THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM/DAMAYAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG BUKID SA ASYENDA ROXAS-NATIO

  • G.R. No. 157038 - Government Serive Insurance System v. Jean E. Raoet

  • G.R. No. 157867 - Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. Hon. Salvador Abad Santos

  • G.R. No. 159788 - Sotero Roy Leonero, et al. v. Spouses Marcelino B. Barba, et al.

  • G.R. No. 159792 - Barangay Sangalang, represented by its Chairman Dante C. Marcellana v. Barangay Maguihan, represented by its Chairman Arnulfo Villarez

  • G.R. No. 160146 - Leslie Okol v. Slimmers World International, et al.

  • G.R. No. 160367 - Evelyn S. Cabungcal, et al. v. Sonia R. Lorenzo, et al.

  • G.R. No. 161424 - Republic of the Philippines v. Ignacio Leonor and Catalino Razon

  • G.R. No. 161929 - Lynn Paz T. Dela Cruz, et al. v. Sandiganbayan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 163117 - Equitable PCI Bank, Inc. v. Maria Letecia Fernandez, et al.

  • G.R. No. 162243, G.R. NO. 164516 and G.R. NO. 171875 - Hon. Heherson T. Alvarez v. PICOP Resources, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 163553 - Yun Kwan Byung v. Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation

  • G.R. No. 164195 - Apo Fruits Corporation and Hijo Plantation, Inc. v. The Hon. Court of Appeals, and Land Bank of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 165109 - Manuel Mamba, et al. v. Edgar R. Lara, et al.

  • G.R. No. 165299 - Pacific Steam Laundry, Inc. v. Laguna Lake Development Authority

  • G.R. No. 165387 - Mayon Estate Corporation and Earthland Developer Corporation v. Lualhati Beltran

  • G.R. No. 166570 - Efren M. Herrera, et al. v. National Power Corporation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 166941 - Spouses Dennis Barias and Divina Barias v. Heirs of Bartolome Boneo, namely, Juanita Leopoldo, et al.

  • G.R. No. 168668 - Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), et al. v. Pearl City Manufacturing Corporation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 168897 - Gina M. Tiangco and Salvacion Jenny Manego v. Uniwide Sales Warehouse Club, Inc. and Jimmy Gow

  • G.R. No. 168756 and G.R. NO. 171476 - Shrimp Specialist, Inc., v. Fuji-Triumph Agri-Industrial Corporation

  • G.R. No. 170447 - Bievenido Di o and Renato Comparativo v. Pablo Olivarez

  • G.R. No. 170476 - People of the Philippines v. Ricardo Grande

  • G.R. No. 170661 - Ramon B. Formantes v. Duncan Pharmaceutical, Philis., Inc.

  • G.R. No. 171023 - Arsenio S. Quiambao v. Manila Electric Company

  • G.R. No. 171669 - Heirs of Rodrigo Yacapin, namely, Sol Belnas, et al. v. Felimon Belida (Deceased), represented by Merlyn B. Palos, et al.

  • G.R. No. 171916 - Constantino A. Pascual v. Lourdes S. Pascual

  • G.R. No. 172092 - People of the Philippines v. Joey Tion y Cabadu

  • G.R. No. 172372 - The People of the Philippines v. Romar Teodoro y Vallejo

  • G.R. No. 172822 - MOF COMPANY, INC., v. SHIN YANG BROKERAGE CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 173158 - Alejandro B. Ty and International Realty Corporation v. Queen's Row Subdivision, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 173319 - Federico Miguel Olbes v. Hon. Danilo A. Buemio, etc. et al.

  • G.R. No. 173329 - Susan G. Po and Lilia G. Mutia v. Omerio Dampal

  • G.R. No. 173441 - Heirs of Sofia Quirong, etc. v. Development Bank of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 173533 - Vicente N. Luna, Jr. v. Nario Cabales, Oscar Pabalan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 174480 - People of the Philippines v. Reynaldo Albalate, Jr.

  • G.R. No. 175115 - Lily O. Orbase v. Office of the Ombudsman and Adoracion Mendoza-Bolos

  • G.R. No. 175393 and G.R. NO. 177731 - Government Service Insurance System v. RTC of Pasig, et al.

  • G.R. No. 175466 - Bank of the Philippine Islands as successor-in-interest of Far East Bank and Trust Company v. SMP, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 175803 - Governor Ornaldo A. Fua, Jr., et al. v. The Commission on Audit, et al.

  • G.R. No. 175994 - Jesus Campos and Rosemarie Campos-Bautista v. Nenita Buevinida Pastrana, et al.

  • G.R. No. 176291 - Jorge B. Navarra v. Office of the Ombudsman, Samuel Namnama, et al.

  • G.R. No. 176951, G.R. No. 177499 and G.R. No. 178056 - League of cities of the Philippines, et al. v. COMELEC

  • G.R. No. 177384 - Josephine Wee v. Republic of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 177404 and G.R. NO. 178097 - Land Bank of the Philippines v. Kumassie Plantation Company Incorporated

  • G.R. No. 177486 - Purisimo S. Buyco v. Nelson Baraquia

  • G.R. No. 177664 - CRC Agricultural Trading and Rolando B. Catindig v. National Labor Relations Commission and Roberto Obias

  • G.R. No. 177777 - People of the Philippines v. Fernando Gutierrez y Gatso

  • G.R. No. 178000 and 178003 - Liberato M. Carabeo v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 178606 - The Episcopal Diocese of the Northern Philippines v. The District Engineer, MPED-DPWH

  • G.R. No. 179328 - Rizalina P. Positos v. Jacob M. Chua

  • G.R. No. 179356 - Kepco Philippines Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 179505 - First Philippine Holding Corporation v. Trans Middle East (Phils.) Equities Inc.

  • G.R. No. 179554 - Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Trackworks Rail Transit Advertising, Vending and Promotions, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 178158 and G.R. NO. 180428 - Strategic Alliance Development Corporation v. Radstock Securities Limited and Philippine National Construction corporation

  • G.R. No. 179830 - Lintang Bedol v. Commssion on Elections

  • G.R. No. 179946 - The People of the Philippines v. Quirino Cabral y Valencia

  • G.R. No. 179952 - Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, etc. v. BA Finance Corporation and Malayan Insurance Co, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 180218 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES CORPORATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180439 - Resort Hotels Corporation, Rodolfo M. Cuenca Insvestment Corporation v. Development Bank of the Philippines and SM Investment Corp.

  • G.R. No. 181174 - Ma. Cristina Torres Braza, et al. v. The City Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, minor Patrick Alvin Titular Braza, represented by Leon Titular, et al.

  • G.R. No. 181455 and G.R. No. 182008 - Santiago Cua, Jr., et al. v. Miguel Ocampo Tan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 181556 - In Re: Petition for Assistance in the Liquidation of Intercity Savinds and Loan Bank, Inc., Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Stockholders of Intercity Savings and Loan Bank, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181571 - Juno Batistis v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 182013 - Quasha Ancheta Pe a & Nolasco Law Office and Legeng International Reports, Limited v. The Special Sixth Division of the Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182161 - Rev. Father Robert P. Reyes v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182216 - Plantation Bay Resort & Spa and Efren Belarmino v. Romel S. Dubrico, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182310 - People of the Philippines v. Jan Michael Tan and Archie Tan

  • G.R. No. 182336 - Elvira O. Ong v. Jose Casim Genio

  • G.R. No. 182430 - Leopoldo Abante v. KJGS Fleet Management Manila and/or Gur Domingo A. Macapayag, Kristian Gerhard Jebsens Skipsrenderi A/S

  • G.R. No. 182623 - Dionisio M. Musnit v. Sea Star Shipping Corporation and Sea Star Shipping Corporation, Ltd.

  • G.R. No. 182498 - Gen. Avelino I. Razon, Jr., chief, Philippine National Police (PNP), et al. v. Mary Jean B. Tagitis

  • G.R. No. 182626 - Hilario S. Ramirez v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182645 - In the matter of the Heirship (Intestate Estates) of the late Hermogenes Rodriguez, et al., Rene B. Pascual v. Jaime M. Robles

  • G.R. No. 182735 - Sps. Rogelio Marcelo & Milagros v. Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB)

  • G.R. No. 183233 - Virgilio G. Anabe v. Asian Construction (ASIAKONSTRUKT), et al.

  • G.R. No. 183297 - National Power Corporation v. Hon. Amer Ibrahim, etc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 183317 - Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc. v. The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, et al.

  • G.R. No. 18335 - Juanito Tabigue, et al. v. International Copra Export Corporation (INTERCO)

  • G.R. No. 183908 - Joelson O. Iloreta v. Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. and Norbulk Shipping U.K. Ltd.

  • G.R. No. 184836 - Simon B. Aldovino, Jr., Danilo B. Faller and Ferdinand N. Talabong v. Commission on Elections and Wilfredo F. Asilo

  • G.R. No. 184977 - Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. v. Ricky E. Dela Cruz, et al.

  • G.R. No. 185011 - People of the Philippines v. SP03 Sangki Ara y Mirasol, et al.

  • G.R. No. 185381 - People of the Philippines v. Danilo Cruz y Culala

  • G.R. No. 185477 - Herminio M. Gutierrez, et al. v. Flora Mendoza-Plaza, et al.

  • G.R. No. 185749 - Civil Service Commission v. Herminigildo L. Andal

  • G.R. No. 186234 - People of the Philippines v. Felix Palgan

  • G.R. No. 186242 - Government Service Insurance System v. City Treasurer and City Assessor of the City of Manila

  • G.R. No. 186460 - People of the Philippines v. Gualberto Cinco y Soyosa

  • G.R. No. 186965 - Temic Automotive Philippines, Inc. v. Temic Automotive Philippines, Inc., Employees Union

  • G.R. No. 187478 - Representative Danila Ramon S. Fernandez v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Jesus L. Vicente

  • G.R. No. 187494 - People of the Philippines v. Elmer Barberos

  • G.R. No. 187838 - Adriatico Consortium, Inc. Primary Realty Corp., and Benito Cu-Uy-Gam v. Land Bank of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 188240 - Michael L. San Miguel v. Commission on Elections and Christopher V. Aguilar

  • G.R. No. 189868 - KABATAAN PARTY-LIST, ET AL. v. COMELEC

  • G.R. No. 189698 - ELEAZAR P. QUINTO and GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., v. COMELEC

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    G.R. No. 189698 - ELEAZAR P. QUINTO and GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., v. COMELEC

      G.R. No. 189698 - ELEAZAR P. QUINTO and GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., v. COMELEC

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. NO. 189698 : December 1, 2009]

    ELEAZAR P. QUINTO and GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., Petitioners, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N

    NACHURA, J.:

    In our predisposition to discover the "original intent" of a statute, courts become the unfeeling pillars of the status quo. Little do we realize that statutes or even constitutions are bundles of compromises thrown our way by their framers. Unless we exercise vigilance, the statute may already be out of tune and irrelevant to our day.1 It is in this light that we should address the instant case.

    Before the Court is a petition for prohibition and certiorari, with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction, assailing Section 4(a) of Resolution No. 8678 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). In view of pressing contemporary events, the petition begs for immediate resolution.

    The Antecedents

    This controversy actually stems from the law authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system (AES).

    On December 22, 1997, Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8436, entitled "AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM IN THE MAY 11, 1998 NATIONAL OR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND IN SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTORAL EXERCISES, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES." Section 11 thereof reads:

    SEC. 11. Official Ballot. - The Commission shall prescribe the size and form of the official ballot which shall contain the titles of the positions to be filled and/or the propositions to be voted upon in an initiative, referendum or plebiscite. Under each position, the names of candidates shall be arranged alphabetically by surname and uniformly printed using the same type size. A fixed space where the chairman of the Board of Election inspectors shall affix his/her signature to authenticate the official ballot shall be provided.

    Both sides of the ballots may be used when necessary.

    For this purpose, the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition for registration/manifestation to participate in the election shall not be later than one hundred twenty (120) days before the elections: - Provided, That, any elective official, whether national or local, running for any office other than the one which he/she is holding in a permanent capacity, except for president and vice president, shall be deemed resigned only upon the start of the campaign period corresponding to the position for which he/she is running: Provided, further, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided, finally, That, for purposes of the May 11, 1998 elections, the deadline for filing of the certificate of candidacy for the positions of President, Vice President, Senators and candidates under the Party-List System as well as petitions for registration and/or manifestation to participate in the Party-List System shall be on February 9, 1998 while the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy for other positions shall be on March 27, 1998.

    The official ballots shall be printed by the National Printing Office and/or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the price comparable with that of private printers under proper security measures which the Commission shall adopt. The Commission may contract the services of private printers upon certification by the National Printing Office/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that it cannot meet the printing requirements. Accredited political parties and deputized citizens' arms of the Commission may assign watchers in the printing, storage and distribution of official ballots.

    To prevent the use of fake ballots, the Commission through the Committee shall ensure that the serial number on the ballot stub shall be printed in magnetic ink that shall be easily detectable by inexpensive hardware and shall be impossible to reproduce on a photocopying machine and that identification marks, magnetic strips, bar codes and other technical and security markings, are provided on the ballot.

    The official ballots shall be printed and distributed to each city/municipality at the rate of one (1) ballot for every registered voter with a provision of additional four (4) ballots per precinct.2

    Almost a decade thereafter, Congress amended the law on January 23, 2007 by enacting R.A. No. 9369, entitled "AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8436, ENTITLED "AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM IN THE MAY 11, 1998 NATIONAL OR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND IN SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTORAL EXERCISES, TO ENCOURAGE TRANSPARENCY, CREDIBILITY, FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY OF ELECTIONS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMPANSA BLG. 881, AS AMEMDED, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166 AND OTHER RELATED ELECTION LAWS, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES." Section 13 of the amendatory law modified Section 11 of R.A. No. 8436, thus:

    SEC. 13. Section 11 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

    Section 15. Official Ballot. - The Commission shall prescribe the format of the electronic display and/or the size and form of the official ballot, which shall contain the titles of the position to be filled and/or the propositions to be voted upon in an initiative, referendum or plebiscite. Where practicable, electronic displays must be constructed to present the names of all candidates for the same position in the same page or screen, otherwise, the electronic displays must be constructed to present the entire ballot to the voter, in a series of sequential pages, and to ensure that the voter sees all of the ballot options on all pages before completing his or her vote and to allow the voter to review and change all ballot choices prior to completing and casting his or her ballot. Under each position to be filled, the names of candidates shall be arranged alphabetically by surname and uniformly indicated using the same type size. The maiden or married name shall be listed in the official ballot, as preferred by the female candidate. Under each proposition to be vote upon, the choices should be uniformly indicated using the same font and size.

    A fixed space where the chairman of the board of election inspectors shall affix his/her signature to authenticate the official ballot shall be provided.

    For this purpose, the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition of registration/manifestation to participate in the election. Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided, finally, That any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the armed forces, and officers and employees in government-owned or -controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of candidacy.

    Political parties may hold political conventions to nominate their official candidates within thirty (30) days before the start of the period for filing a certificate of candidacy.

    With respect to a paper-based election system, the official ballots shall be printed by the National Printing Office and/or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the price comparable with that of private printers under proper security measures which the Commission shall adopt. The Commission may contract the services of private printers upon certification by the National Printing Office/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas that it cannot meet the printing requirements. Accredited political parties and deputized citizens' arms of the Commission shall assign watchers in the printing, storage and distribution of official ballots.

    To prevent the use of fake ballots, the Commission through the Committee shall ensure that the necessary safeguards, such as, but not limited to, bar codes, holograms, color shifting ink, microprinting, are provided on the ballot.

    The official ballots shall be printed and distributed to each city/municipality at the rate of one ballot for every registered voter with a provision of additional three ballots per precinct.3

    Pursuant to its constitutional mandate to enforce and administer election laws, COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8678,4 the Guidelines on the Filing of Certificates of Candidacy (CoC) and Nomination of Official Candidates of Registered Political Parties in Connection with the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections. Sections 4 and 5 of Resolution No. 8678 provide:

    SEC. 4. Effects of Filing Certificates of Candidacy. - a) Any person holding a public appointive office or position including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy.

    b) Any person holding an elective office or position shall not be considered resigned upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy for the same or any other elective office or position.

    SEC. 5. Period for filing Certificate of Candidacy. - The certificate of candidacy shall be filed on regular days, from November 20 to 30, 2009, during office hours, except on the last day, which shall be until midnight.

    Alarmed that they will be deemed ipso facto resigned from their offices the moment they file their CoCs, petitioners Eleazar P. Quinto and Gerino A. Tolentino, Jr., who hold appointive positions in the government and who intend to run in the coming elections,5 filed the instant petition for prohibition and certiorari, seeking the declaration of the afore-quoted Section 4(a) of Resolution No. 8678 as null and void.

    The Petitioners' Contention

    Petitioners contend that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it issued the assailed Resolution. They aver that the advance filing of CoCs for the 2010 elections is intended merely for the purpose of early printing of the official ballots in order to cope with time limitations. Such advance filing does not automatically make the person who filed the CoC a candidate at the moment of filing. In fact, the law considers him a candidate only at the start of the campaign period. Petitioners then assert that this being so, they should not be deemed ipso facto resigned from their government offices when they file their CoCs, because at such time they are not yet treated by law as candidates. They should be considered resigned from their respective offices only at the start of the campaign period when they are, by law, already considered as candidates.6

    Petitioners also contend that Section 13 of R.A. No. 9369, the basis of the assailed COMELEC resolution, contains two conflicting provisions. These must be harmonized or reconciled to give effect to both and to arrive at a declaration that they are not ipso facto resigned from their positions upon the filing of their CoCs.7

    Petitioners further posit that the provision considering them as ipso facto resigned from office upon the filing of their CoCs is discriminatory and violates the equal protection clause in the Constitution.8

    The Respondent's Arguments

    On the procedural aspect of the petition, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), representing respondent COMELEC, argues that petitioners have no legal standing to institute the suit." Petitioners have not yet filed their CoCs, hence, they are not yet affected by the assailed provision in the COMELEC resolution. The OSG further claims that the petition is premature or unripe for judicial determination." Petitioners have admitted that they are merely planning to file their CoCs for the coming 2010 elections. Their interest in the present controversy is thus merely speculative and contingent upon the filing of the same. The OSG likewise contends that petitioners availed of the wrong remedy. They are questioning an issuance of the COMELEC made in the exercise of the latter's rule-making power. Certiorari under Rule 65 is then an improper remedy.9

    On the substantive aspect, the OSG maintains that the COMELEC did not gravely abuse its discretion in phrasing Section 4(a) of Resolution No. 8678 for it merely copied what is in the law. The OSG, however, agrees with petitioners that there is a conflict in Section 13 of R.A. No. 9369 that should be resolved. According to the OSG, there seems to be no basis to consider appointive officials as ipso facto resigned and to require them to vacate their positions on the same day that they file their CoCs, because they are not yet considered as candidates at that time. Further, this - deemed resigned - provision existed in Batas Pambansa Bilang (B.P. Blg.) 881, and no longer finds a place in our present election laws with the innovations brought about by the automated system.10

    Our Ruling

    I.

    At first glance, the petition suffers from an incipient procedural defect. What petitioners assail in their petition is a resolution issued by the COMELEC in the exercise of its quasi-legislative power. Certiorari under Rule 65, in relation to Rule 64, cannot be availed of, because it is a remedy to question decisions, resolutions and issuances made in the exercise of a judicial or quasi-judicial function.11 Prohibition is also an inappropriate remedy, because what petitioners actually seek from the Court is a determination of the proper construction of a statute and a declaration of their rights thereunder. Obviously, their petition is one for declaratory relief,12 over which this Court does not exercise original jurisdiction.13

    However, petitioners raise a challenge on the constitutionality of the questioned provisions of both the COMELEC resolution and the law. Given this scenario, the Court may step in and resolve the instant petition.

    The transcendental nature and paramount importance of the issues raised and the compelling state interest involved in their early resolution the period for the filing of CoCs for the 2010 elections has already started and hundreds of civil servants intending to run for elective offices are to lose their employment, thereby causing imminent and irreparable damage to their means of livelihood and, at the same time, crippling the government's manpowerfurther dictate that the Court must, for propriety, if only from a sense of obligation, entertain the petition so as to expedite the adjudication of all, especially the constitutional, issues.

    In any event, the Court has ample authority to set aside errors of practice or technicalities of procedure and resolve the merits of a case. Repeatedly stressed in our prior decisions is the principle that the Rules were promulgated to provide guidelines for the orderly administration of justice, not to shackle the hand that dispenses it. Otherwise, the courts would be consigned to being mere slaves to technical rules, deprived of their judicial discretion.14

    II.

    To put things in their proper perspective, it is imperative that we trace the brief history of the assailed provision. Section 4(a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 8678 is a reproduction of the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of R.A. No. 9369, which for ready reference is quoted as follows:

    For this purpose, the Commission shall set the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition for registration/manifestation to participate in the election. Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period: Provided, finally, That any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the armed forces, and officers and employees in government-owned or -controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of candidacy.15

    Notably, this proviso is not present in Section 11 of R.A. No. 8436, the law amended by R.A. No. 9369. The proviso was lifted from Section 66 of B.P. Blg. 881 or the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) of the Philippines, which reads:

    Sec. 66. Candidates holding appointive office or position. - Any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy.

    It may be recalled-in inverse chronology-that earlier, Presidential Decree No. 1296, or the 1978 Election Code, contained a similar provision, thus'

    SECTION 29. Candidates holding appointive office or position. - Every person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall ipso facto cease in his office or position on the date he files his certificate of candidacy. Members of the Cabinet shall continue in the offices they presently hold notwithstanding the filing of certificate of candidacy, subject to the pleasure of the President of the Philippines.

    Much earlier, R.A. No. 6388, or the Election Code of 1971, likewise stated in its Section 23 the following:

    SECTION 23. Candidates Holding Appointive Office or Position. - Every person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and every officer or employee in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall ipso facto cease in his office or position on the date he files his certificate of candidacy: Provided, That the filing of a certificate of candidacy shall not affect whatever civil, criminal or administrative liabilities which he may have incurred.

    Going further back in history, R.A. No. 180, or the Revised Election Code approved on June 21, 1947, also provided that

    SECTION 26. Automatic cessation of appointive officers and employees who are candidates. - Every person holding a public appointive office or position shall ipso facto cease in his office or position on the date he files his certificate of candidacy.

    During the Commonwealth era, Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 725, entitled "AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE NEXT ELECTION FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES, SENATORS AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND APPROPRIATING THE NECESSARY FUNDS THEREFOR," approved on January 5, 1946, contained, in the last paragraph of its Section 2, the following:

    A person occupying any civil office by appointment in the government or any of its political subdivisions or agencies or government-owned or controlled corporations, whether such office by appointive or elective, shall be considered to have resigned from such office from the moment of the filing of such certificate of candidacy.

    Significantly, however, C.A. No. 666, entitled "AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE FIRST ELECTION FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES, SENATORS, AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, UNDER THE CONSTITUTION AND THE AMENDMENTS THEREOF," enacted without executive approval on June 22, 1941, the precursor of C.A. No. 725, only provided for automatic resignation of elective, but not appointive, officials.

    Nevertheless, C.A. No. 357, or the Election Code approved on August 22, 1938, had, in its Section 22, the same verbatim provision as Section 26 of R.A. No. 180.

    The earliest recorded Philippine law on the subject is Act No. 1582, or the Election Law enacted by the Philippine Commission in 1907, the last paragraph of Section 29 of which reads:

    Sec. 29. Penalties upon officers. - x x x.

    No public officer shall offer himself as a candidate for election, nor shall he be eligible during the time that he holds said public office to election, at any municipal, provincial or Assembly election, except for reelection to the position which he may be holding, and no judge of the Court of First Instance, justice of the peace, provincial fiscal, or officer or employee of the Bureau of Constabulary or of the Bureau of Education shall aid any candidate or influence in any manner or take any part in any municipal, provincial, or Assembly election under penalty of being deprived of his office and being disqualified to hold any public office whatever for a term of five years: Provided, however, That the foregoing provisions shall not be construed to deprive any person otherwise qualified of the right to vote at any election.

    From this brief historical excursion, it may be gleaned that the second proviso in the third paragraph of Section 13 of R.A. No. 9369 - that any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the armed forces, and officers, and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his/her office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of his/her certificate of candidacy - traces its roots to the period of the American occupation.

    In fact, during the deliberations of Senate Bill No. 2231, the bill later to be consolidated with House Bill No. 5352 and enacted as R.A. No. 9369, Senator Richard Gordon, the principal author of the bill, acknowledged that the said proviso in the proposed legislative measure is an old provision which was merely copied from earlier existing legislation, thus'

    Senator Osme a. - May I just opine here and perhaps obtain the opinion of the good Sponsor. - This reads like, "ANY PERSON HOLDING [means currently] A PUBLIC APPOINTIVE POSITION" SHALL BE CONSIDERED IPSO FACTO RESIGNED - [which means that the prohibition extends only to appointive officials] "INCLUDING ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES" - This is a prohibition, Mr. President. - This means if one is chairman of SSS or PDIC, he is deemed ipso facto resigned when he files his certificate of candidacy. - Is that the intention

    Senator Gordon. - This is really an old provision, Mr. President.

    Senator Osme a. - It is in bold letters, so I think it was a Committee amendment.

    Senator Gordon. - No, it has always been there.

    Senator Osme a. - I see.

    Senator Gordon. - I guess the intention is not to give them undue advantage, especially certain people.

    Senator Osme a. - All right.16

    In that Senate deliberation, however, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago expressed her concern over the inclusion of the said provision in the new law, given that the same would be disadvantageous and unfair to potential candidates holding appointive positions, while it grants a consequent preferential treatment to elective officials, thus'

    Senator Santiago. - On page 15, line 31, I know that this is a losing cause, so I make this point more as a matter of record than of any feasible hope that it can possibly be either accepted or if we come to a division of the House, it will be upheld by the majority.

    I am referring to page 15, line 21. - The proviso begins: "PROVIDED FINALLY, THAT ANY PERSON HOLDING A PUBLIC APPOINTIVE OFFICE - SHALL BE CONSIDERED IPSO FACTO RESIGNED FROM HIS/HER OFFICE."

    The point that I made during the appropriate debate in the past in this Hall is that there is, for me, no valid reason for exempting elective officials from this inhibition or disqualification imposed by the law. - If we are going to consider appointive officers of the government, including AFP members and officers of government-owned and controlled corporations, or any other member of the appointive sector of the civil service, why should it not apply to the elective sector for, after all, even senators and congressmen are members of the civil service as well

    Further, it is self-serving for the Senate, or for the Congress in general, to give an exception to itself which is not available to other similarly situated officials of government. Of course, the answer is, the reason why we are special is that we are elected. Since we are imposing a disqualification on all other government officials except ourselves, I think, it is the better part of delicadeza to inhibit ourselves as well, so that if we want to stay as senators, we wait until our term expires. But if we want to run for some other elective office during our term, then we have to be considered resigned just like everybody else. That is my proposed amendment. But if it is unacceptable to the distinguished Sponsor, because of sensitivity to the convictions of the rest of our colleagues, I will understand.

    Senator Gordon. Mr. President, I think the suggestion is well-thought of. - It is a good policy. - However, this is something that is already in the old law which was upheld by the Supreme court in a recent case that the rider was not upheld and that it was valid.17

    The obvious inequality brought about by the provision on automatic resignation of appointive civil servants must have been the reason why Senator Recto proposed the inclusion of the following during the period of amendments: "ANY PERSON WHO FILES HIS CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY WITHIN THIS PERIOD SHALL ONLY BE CONSIDERED AS A CANDIDATE AT THE START OF THE CAMPAIGN PERIOD FOR WHICH HE FILED HIS COC."18 The said proviso seems to mitigate the situation of disadvantage afflicting appointive officials by considering persons who filed their CoCs as candidates only at the start of the campaign period, thereby, conveying the tacit intent that persons holding appointive positions will only be considered as resigned at the start of the campaign period when they are already treated by law as candidates.

    Parenthetically, it may be remembered that Section 67 of the OEC and Section 11 of R.A. No. 8436 contained a similar provision on automatic resignation of elective officials upon the filing of their CoCs for any office other than that which they hold in a permanent capacity or for President or Vice-President. However, with the enactment of R.A. No. 9006, or the Fair Election Act,19 in 2001, this provision was repealed by Section 1420 of the said act. There was, thus, created a situation of obvious discrimination against appointive officials who were deemed ipso facto resigned from their offices upon the filing of their CoCs, while elective officials were not.

    This situation was incidentally addressed by the Court in Fari

    G.R. No. 189698 - ELEAZAR P. QUINTO and GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., v. COMELEC


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