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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
 

   
June-2013 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 7944, June 03, 2013 - REX POLINAR DAGOHOY, Complainant, v. ATTY. ARTEMIO V. SAN JUAN, Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 4191, June 10, 2013 - ANITA C. PENA, Complainant, v. ATTY. CHRISTINA C. PATERNO, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 157020, June 19, 2013 - REINIER PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING, INC. AND NEPTUNE SHIP MANAGEMENT SVCS., PTE., LTD., Petitioners, v. CAPTAIN FRANCISCO B. GUEVARRA, SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS, Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 9537 [Formerly CBD Case No. 09-2489], June 10, 2013 - DR. TERESITA LEE, Complainant, v. ATTY. AMADOR L. SIMANDO, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 169214, June 19, 2013 - SPOUSES MANUEL SY AND VICTORIA SY, Petitioners, v. GENALYN D. YOUNG, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 173829, June 10, 2013 - VALBUECO, INC., Petitioner, v. PROVINCE OF BATAAN, REPRESENTED BY ITS PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR ANTONIO ROMAN;1 EMMANUEL M. AQUINO,2 IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS REGISTRAR OF THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF BALANGA, BATAAN; AND PASTOR P. VICHUACO,3 IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS PROVINCIAL TREASURER OF BALANGA, BATAAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No.171692, June 03, 2013 - SPOUSES DELFIN O. TUMIBAY AND AURORA T. TUMIBAY-DECEASED; GRACE JULIE ANN TUMIBAY MANUEL, LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES MELVIN A. LOPEZ AND ROWENA GAY T. VISITACION LOPEZ, Respondents.

  • G.R. NO. 175773, June 17, 2013 - MITSUBISHI MOTORS PHILIPPINES SALARIED EMPLOYEES UNION (MMPSEU), Petitioner, v. MITSUBISHI MOTORS PHILIPPINES CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 177103, June 03, 2013 - ORIENTAL SHIPMANAGEMENT CO., INC., ROSENDO C. HERRERA, AND BENNET SHIPPING SA LIBERIA, Petitioners, v. RAINERIO N. NAZAL, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 177812, June 19, 2013 - CONCRETE SOLUTIONS, INC./PRIMARY STRUCTURES CORPORATION, REPRESENTED BY ANASTACIO G. ARDIENTE, JR., Petitioners, v. ARTHUR CABUSAS, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 179492, June 05, 2013 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ABUSAMA M. ALID, OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-REGIONAL-FIELD UNIT XII (DA-RFU XII), Petitioner, v. ABDULWAHAB A. BAYAO, OSMEÑA I. MONTAÑER, RAKMA B. BUISAN, HELEN M. ALVARES, NEILA P. LIMBA, ELIZABETH B. PUSTA, ANNA MAE A.. SIDENO, UDTOG B. TABONG, JOHN S. KAMENZA, DELIA R. SUBALDO, DAYANG W. MACMOD, FLORENCE S. TAYUAN, IN THEIR OWN BEHALF AND IN BEHALF OF THE OTHER OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES OF DA-RFU XII, Respondents.

  • G.R. NO. 179643, June 03, 2013 - ERNESTO L. NATIVIDAD, Petitioner, v. FERNANDO MARIANO, ANDRES MARIANO AND DOROTEO GARCIA, Respondents.

  • G.R. NO. 181195, June 10, 2013 - FREDERICK JAMES C. ORAIS, Petitioner, v. DR. AMELIA C. ALMIRANTE, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 182963, June 03, 2013 - SPOUSES DEO AGNER AND MARICON AGNER, Petitioners, v. BPI FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 188716, June 10, 2013 - MELINDA L. OCAMPO, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 189297, June 03, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GUILLERMO LOMAQUE, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. NO. 191730, June 05, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MYLENE TORRES Y CRUZ, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. NO. 191877, June 18, 2013 - PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION (PAGCOR), Petitioner, v. ARIEL R. MARQUEZ, Respondent.; [G.R. NO. 192287] - IRENEO M. VERDILLO, Petitioner, v. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION (PAGCOR), Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 192893, June 05, 2013 - MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, Petitioner, v. HEIRS OF SPOUSES DIONISIO DELOY AND PRAXEDES MARTONITO, REPRESENTED BY POLICARPIO DELOY, Respondents.

  • G.R. NO. 193453, June 05, 2013 - SPOUSES RUBIN AND PORTIA HOJAS, Petitioners, v. PHILIPPINE AMANAH BANK AND RAMON KUE, Respondents.

  • G.R. NO. 195523, June 05, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. ERNESTO GANI Y TUPAS, Appellant.

  • G.R. NO. 195842, June 18, 2013 - ROBERTO B. REBLORA, Petitioner, v. ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 197039, June 05, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appelle, v. ARIEL CALARA Y ABALOS, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. NO. 201675, June 19, 2013 - JUANITO ANG, FOR AND IN BEHALF OF SUNRISE MARKETING (BACOLOD), INC., Petitioner, v. SPOUSES ROBERTO AND RACHEL ANG, Respondents.

  • G.R. NO. 198755, June 05, 2013 - ALBERTO PAT-OG, SR., Petitioner, v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 202079, June 10, 2013 - FIL-ESTATE GOLF AND DEVELOPMENT, INC. AND FIL­-ESTATE LAND, INC., Petitioners, v. VERTEX SALES AND TRADING, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 202247, June 19, 2013 - SIME DARBY PILIPINAS, INC., Petitioner, v. JESUS B. MENDOZA, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 202690, June 05, 2013 - HENRY L. SY, Petitioner, v. LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF QUEZON CITY, Respondent.

  • G.R. NO. 202791, June 10, 2013 - PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC., Petitioner, v. LEANDRO LEGASPI, Respondent.

  • A.M. NO. P-10-2741, June 04, 2013 - JUDGE ANTONIO C. REYES, Complainant, v. EDWIN FANGONIL, PROCESS SERVER, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 61 OF BAGUIO CITY, Respondent.

  • A.M. NO. P-06-2223 [Formerly A.M. NO. 06-7-226-MTC), June 10, 2013 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. LORENZA M. MARTINEZ, CLERK OF COURT, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, CANDELARIA, QUEZON. Respondent.

  • A.M. NO. P-10-2879 (Formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 09-3048-P), June 03, 2013 - AUXENCIO JOSEPH B. CLEMENTE, CLERK OF COURT, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 48, PASAY CITY, Complainant, v. ERWIN E. BAUTISTA, CLERK III, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 48, PASAY CITY, Respondent.

  • A.M. NO. P-12-3048 (formerly A.M. NO. 11-3-29-MCTC), June 05, 2013 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. NELSON P. MAGBANUA, PROCESS SERVER, 3RD MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT, PATNONGON, ANTIQUE, Respondent.

  • A.M. NO. P-13-3115 (Formerly A.M. NO. 13-3-41-RTC], June 04, 2013 - RE: DROPPING FROM THE ROLLS OF JOYLYN R. DUPAYA, Court Stenographer III, Regional Trial Court, Branch 10, Aparri, Cagayan.

  • G.R. No. L-44, September 13, 1945 - LILY RAQUIZA, ET AL. v. J. BRADFORD, ET AL. - 075 Phil 50

  • G.R. No. 156759, June 05, 2013 - ALLEN A. MACASAET, NICOLAS V. QUIJANO, JR., ISAIAS ALBANO, LILY REYES, JANET BAY, JESUS R. GALANG, AND RANDY HAGOS, Petitioners, v. FRANCISCO R. CO, JR., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 159691, June 13, 2013 - HEIRS OF MARCELO SOTTO, REPRESENTED BY: LOLIBETH SOTTO NOBLE, DANILO C. SOTTO, CRISTINA C. SOTTO, EMMANUEL C. SOTTO AND FILEMON C. SOTTO; AND SALVACION BARCELONA, AS HEIR OF DECEASED MIGUEL BARCELONA, Petitioners, v. MATILDE S. PALICTE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 160786, June 17, 2013 - SIMPLICIA O. ABRIGO AND DEMETRIO ABRIGO, Petitioners, v. JIMMY F. FLORES, EDNA F. FLORES, DANILO FLORES, BELINDA FLORES, HECTOR FLORES, MARITES FLORES, HEIRS OF MARIA F. FLORES, JACINTO FAYLONA, ELISA FAYLONA MAGPANTAY, MARIETTA FAYLONA CARTACIANO, AND HEIRS OF TOMASA BANZUELA VDA. DE FAYLONA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 160982, June 26, 2013 - MANILA JOCKEY CLUB, INC., Petitioner,v. AIMEE O. TRAJANO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 161878, June 05, 2013 - PHILWORTH ASIAS, INC., SPOUSES LUISITO AND ELIZABETH MACTAL, AND SPOUSES LUIS AND ELOISA REYES, Petitioners, v. PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK, Respondent.

  • G. R. No. 163061, June 26, 2013 - ALFONSO L. FIANZA, Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (SECOND DIVISION), BINGA HYDROELECTRIC PLANT, INC., ANTHONY C. ESCOLAR, ROLAND M. LAUTCHANG, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 172334, June 05, 2013 - DR. ZENAIDA P. PIA, Petitioner, v. HON. MARGARITO P. GERVACIO, JR., OVERALL DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN, FORMERLY ACTING OMBUDSMAN, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, DR. OFELIA M. CARAGUE, FORMERLY PUP PRESIDENT, DR. ROMAN R. DANNUG, FORMERLY DEAN, COLLEGE OF ECONOMICS, FINANCE AND POLITICS (CEFP), NOW ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, CEFP POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES (PUP), STA. MESA, MANILA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 172892, June 13, 2013 - PHILIPPINE DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 173330, June 17, 2013 - LUCILLE DOMINGO, Petitioner, v. MERLINDA COLINA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 173946, June 19, 2013 - BOSTON EQUITY RESOURCES, INC., Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS AND LOLITA G. TOLEDO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 174908, June 17, 2013 - DARMA MASLAG, Petitioner, v. AND ELIZABETH MONZON, WILLIAM GESTON, REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF BENGUET, Respondents.

  • G.R. Nos. 175279-80, June 05, 2013 - SUSAN LIM-LUA, Petitioner, v. DANILO Y. LUA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 175542 and 183205, June 05, 2013 - GREEN ACRES HOLDINGS, INC., Petitioner, v. VICTORIA P. CABRAL, SPS. ENRIQUE T. MORAGA and VICTORIA SORIANO, FILCON READY MIXED, INC., DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM ADJUDICATION BOARD (DARAB), and REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF BULACAN, MEYCAUAYAN BRANCH, Respondents.; VICTORIA P. CABRAL, Petitioner, v. PROVINCIAL ADJUDICATOR, JOSEPH NOEL C. LONGBOAN / OFFICE OF THE AGRARIAN REFORM ADJUDICATOR, GREEN ACRES HOLDINGS, INC., SPOUSES ENRIQUE T. MORAGA and VICTORIA SORIANO and FILCON READY MIXED, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 175900, June 10, 2013 - KAPISANANG PANGKAUNLARAN NG KABABAIHANG POTRERO, INC. AND MILAGROS H. REYES, Petitioners, v. REMEDIOS BARRENO, LILIBETH AMETIN, DRANREV F. NONAY, FREDERICK D. DIONISIO AND MARITES CASIO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 176425, June 05, 2013 - HEIRS OF MANUEL UY EK LIONG, REPRESENTED BY BELEN LIM VDA. DE UY, Petitioners, v. MAURICIA MEER CASTILLO, HEIRS OF BUENAFLOR C. UMALI, REPRESENTED BY NANCY UMALI, VICTORIA H. CASTILLO, BERTILLA C. RADA, MARIETTA C. CAVANEZ, LEOVINA C. JALBUENA AND PHILIP M. CASTILLO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 176838, June 13, 2013 - DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, AS REPRESENTED BY FRITZI C. PANTOJA, IN HER CAPACITY AS THE PROVINCIAL AGRARIAN REFORM OFFICER, DAR-LAGUNA, Petitioner, v. PARAMOUNT HOLDINGS EQUITIES, INC., JIMMY CHUA, ROJAS CHUA, BENJAMIN SIM, SANTOS C. TAN, WILLIAM C. LEE AND STEWART C. LIM, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 178947, June 26, 2013 - VIRGINIA DE LOS SANTOS­DIO, AS AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE OF H.S. EQUITIES, LTD., AND WESTDALE ASSETS, LTD., Petitioner, v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, JUDGE RAMON S. CAGUIOA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH 74, REGIONAL. TRIAL COURT, OLONGAPO CITY, AND TIMOTHY J. DESMOND, Respondents. - R E S O L U T I O N; G.R. No. 179079 - June 26, 2013 - PEOPLE OF PHILIPPINES, The Petitioner, v. TIMOTHY J. DESMOND, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 179448, June 26, 2013 - CARLOS L. TANENGGEE, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 179685, June 19, 2013 - CONRADA O. ALMAGRO, Petitioner, v. SPS. MANUEL AMAYA, SR. AND LUCILA MERCADO, JESUS MERCADO, SR., AND RICARDO MERCADO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 179736, June 26, 2013 - SPOUSES BILL AND VICTORIA HING, Petitioners, v. ALEXANDER CHOACHUY, SR. AND ALLAN CHOACHUY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 179267, June 25, 2013 - JESUS C. GARCIA, Petitioner, v. THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-BRANCH 41, BACOLOD CITY, AND ROSALIE JAYPE-GARCIA, FOR HERSELF IN BEHALF OF MINOR CHILDREN, NAMELY: JO-ANN, JOSEPH AND EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, ALL SURNAMED GARCIA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 180476, June 26, 2013 - RAYMUNDO CODERIAS, AS REPRESENTED BY HIS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, MARLON M. CODERIAS, Petitioner, v. ESTATE OF JUAN CHIOCO, REPRESENTED BY ITS ADMINISTRATOR, DR. RAUL R. CARAG, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 182072, June 28, 2013 - UNIVAC DEVELOPMENT, INC., Petitioner, v. WILLIAM M. SORIANO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 182130, June 19, 2013 - IRIS KRISTINE BALOIS ALBERTO AND BENJAMIN D. BALOIS, Petitioners, v. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ATTY. RODRIGO A. I REYNA, ARTURO S. CALIANGA, GIL ANTHONY M. CALIANGA, JESSEBEL CALIANGA, AND GRACE. EVANGELISTA, Respondents. - G.R. NO. 182132, June 19, 2013 - THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE CITY PROSECUTOR OF MUNTINLUPA, THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MUNTINLUPA CITY, BENJAMIN D. BALOIS, AND IRIS KRISTINE BALOIS, ALBERTO, Petitioners, v. ATTY. RODRIGO A. REYNA, ARTURO S. CALIANGA, GIL ANTHONY M. CALIANGA, JESSEBEL CALIANGA, AND GRACE EVANGELISTA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 182295, June 26, 2013 - 7K CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. EDDIE ALBARICO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 182855, June 05, 2013 - MR. ALEXANDER “LEX” ADONIS, REPRESENTED BY THE CENTER FOR MEDIA FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY (CMFR), THROUGH ITS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MRS. MELINDA QUINTOS-DE JESUS; AND THE NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP), THROUGH ITS CHAIRPERSON, MR. JOSE TORRES, JR., Petitioners, v. SUPERINTENDENT VENANCIO TESORO, DIRECTOR, DAVAO PRISONS AND PENAL FARM, PANABO CITY, DIGOS, DAVAO DEL NORTE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 182957, June 13, 2013 - ST. JOSEPH ACADEMY OF VALENZUELA FACULTY ASSOCIATION (SJAVFA)-FUR CHAPTER-TUCP, Petitioner, v. ST. JOSEPH ACADEMY OF VALENZUELA AND DAMASO D. LOPEZ, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 183091, June 19, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. BERNESTO DE LA CRUZ @ BERNING, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 184116, June 19, 2013 - CENTURY IRON WORKS, INC. AND BENITO CHUA, Petitioners, v. ELETO B. BAÑAS, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 184589, June 13, 2013 - DEOGENES O. RODRIGUEZ, Petitioner, v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND PHILIPPINE CHINESE CHARITABLE ASSOCIATION, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 185129, June 17, 2013 - ABELARDO JANDUSAY, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 185604, June 13, 2013 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EDWARD M. CAMACHO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 185719, June 17, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MARCELINO COLLADO Y CUNANAN, MYRA COLLADO Y SENICA, MARK CIPRIANO Y ROCERO, SAMUEL SHERWIN LATARIO Y ENRIQUE,* AND REYNALDO RANADA Y ALAS,** Accused-Appellants.

  • G.R. Nos. 185729-32, June 26, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (FOURTH DIVISION), ANTONIO P. BELICENA, ULDARICO P. ANDUTAN, JR., RAUL C. DE VERA, ROSANNA P. DIALA AND JOSEPH A. CABOTAJE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 185830, June 05, 2013 - ECOLE DE CUISINE MANILLE (CORDON BLEU OF THE PHILIPPINES), INC., Petitioner, v. RENAUIL COINTREAU & CIE AND LE CORDON BLEU INT'L., B.V., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 185821, June 13, 2013 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. ATTY. RICARDO D. GONZALEZ, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 186014, June 26, 2013 - ALI AKANG, Petitioner, v. MUNICIPALITY OF ISULAN, SULTAN KUDARAT PROVINCE, REPRESENTED BY ITS MUNICIPAL MAYOR AND MUNICIPAL VICE MAYOR AND MUNICIPAL COUNCILORS/KAGAWADS, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 185891, June 26, 2013 - CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS, Petitioner, v. JUANITA REYES, WILFI EDO REYES, MICHAEL ROY REYES, SIXTA LAPUZ, AND SAMPAGUITA TRAVEL CORP., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 186475, June 26, 2013 - POSEIDON INTERNATIONAL MARITIME SERVICES, INC., Petitioner, v. TITO R. TAMALA, FELIPE S. SAURIN, JR., ARTEMIO A. BO-OC AND JOEL S. FERNANDEZ, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 186137, June 26, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DATU NOT ABDUL, Defendant-Appellant.

  • G. R. No. 186732, June 13, 2013 - ALPS TRANSPORTATION AND/OR ALFREDO E. PEREZ, Petitioners, v. ELPIDIO M. RODRIGUEZ, Respondent.

  • G. R. No. 187587, June 05, 2013 - NAGKAKAISANG MARALITA NG SITIO MASIGASIG, INC., Petitioner, v. MILITARY SHRINE SERVICES – PHILIPPINE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, Respondent.; G. R. NO. 187654, June 05, 2013 - WESTERN BICUTAN LOT OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., REPRESENTED BY ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Petitioner, v. MILITARY SHRINE SERVICES – PHILIPPINE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No.187722, June 10, 2013 - SURIGAO DEL NORTE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. AND/OR DANNY Z. ESCALANTE, Petitioners, v. TEOFILO GONZAGA, Respondent.

  • G.R. Nos. 187896-97, June 10, 2013 - AMANDO P. CORTES, Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN (VISAYAS), VICTORY M. FERNANDEZ, JULIO E. SUCGANG AND NILO IGTANLOC, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 188024, June 05, 2013 - RODRIGO RONTOS Y DELA TORRE, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 188310, June 13, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MERCIDITA T. RESURRECCION, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 189836, June 05, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROMEO BUSTAMANTE Y ALIGANGA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 189846, June 26, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RAMIL MORES, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 190818, June 05, 2013 - METRO MANILA SHOPPING MECCA CORP., SHOEMART, INC., SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC., STAR APPLIANCES CENTER, SUPER VALUE, INC., ACE HARDWARE PHILIPPINES, INC., HEALTH AND BEAUTY, INC., JOLLIMART PHILS. CORP., and SURPLUS MARKETING CORPORATION, Petitioners, v. MS. LIBERTY M. TOLEDO, in her official capacity as the City Treasurer of Manila, and THE CITY OF MANILA, Respondents.

  • G. R. No. 190957, June 05, 2013 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. APAC MARKETING CORPORATION, REPRESENTED BY CESAR M. ONG, JR., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 191267, June 26, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MONICA MENDOZA Y TRINIDAD, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 191391, June 19, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. BENEDICT HOMAKY LUCIO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 191752, June 10, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. JOSE ARMANDO CERVANTES CACHUELA AND BENJAMIN JULIAN CRUZ IBAÑEZ, Accused. BENJAMIN JULIAN CRUZ IBAÑEZ, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 191903, June 19, 2013 - MAGSAYSAY MARITIME CORPORATION AND/OR WESTFAL-LARSEN AND CO., A/S, Petitioners, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, FIRST DIVISION, AND WILSON G. CAPOY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 192239, June 05, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RICARDO PAMINTUAN Y SAHAGUN, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 192601, June 03, 2013 - PHILIPPINE JOURNALISTS, INC., Petitioner, v. JOURNAL EMPLOYEES UNION (JEU), FOR ITS UNION MEMBER, MICHAEL ALFANTE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 192890, June 17, 2013 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. VIRGINIA PALMARES, LERMA P. AVELINO, MELILIA P. VILLA, NINIAN P. CATEQUISTA, LUIS PALMARES, JR., SALVE P. VALENZUELA, GEORGE P. PALMARES, AND DENCEL P. PALMARES HEREIN REPRESENTED BY THEIR ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, LERMA P. AVELINO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 193314, June 25, 2013 - SVETLANA P. JALOSJOS, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, EDWIN ELIM TUPAG AND RODOLFO Y. ESTRELLADA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 192913, June 13, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOEL REBOTAZO Y ALEJANDRIA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 193453, June 05, 2013 - SPOUSES RUBIN AND PORTIA HOJAS, Petitioners, v. PHILIPPINE AMANAH BANK AND RAMON KUE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 193747, June 05, 2013 - JOSELITO C. BORROMEO, Petitioner, v. JUAN T. MINA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 194062, June 17, 2013 - REPUBLIC GAS CORPORATION, ARNEL U. TY, MARI ANTONETTE N. TY, ORLANDO REYES, FERRER SUAZO AND ALVIN U. TY, Petitioners, v. PETRON CORPORATION, PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, AND SHELL INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 194247, June 19, 2013 - BASES CONVERSION DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, Petitioner, v. ROSA REYES, CENANDO, REYES AND CARLOS REYES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 194362, June 26, 2013 - PHILIPPINE HAMMONIA SHIP AGENCY, INC. (NOW KNOWN AS BSM CREW SERVICE CENTRE PHILIPPINES, INC.) AND DORCHESTER MARINE LTD., Petitioners, v. EULOGIO V. DUMADAG, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 194382, June 10, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GLORIA CALUMBRES Y AUDITOR, Accused-Appellant.

  • G. R. No. 194384, June 13, 2013 - JOSELITO RAMOS, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

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  • G.R. No. 197861, June 05, 2013 - SPOUSES FLORENTINO T. MALLARI AND AUREA V. MALLARI, Petitioners, v. PRUDENTIAL BANK (NOW BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS), Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 197049, June 10, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MARIA JENNY REA Y GUEVARRA AND ESTRELLITA TENDENILLA, Accused-Appellants.

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  • G.R. No. 200094, June 10, 2013 - BENIGNO M. VIGILLA, ALFONSO M. BONGOT, ROBERTO CALLESA, LINDA C. CALLO, NILO B. CAMARA, ADELIA T. CAMARA, ADOLFO G. PINON, JOHN A. FERNANDEZ, FEDERICO A. CALLO, MAXIMA P. ARELLANO, JULITO B. COSTALES, SAMSON F. BACHAR, EDWIN P. DAMO, RENATO E. FERNANDEZ, GENARO F. CALLO, JIMMY C. ALETA, AND EUGENIO SALINAS, Petitioners, v. PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF CRIMINOLOGY INC. AND/OR GREGORY ALAN F. BAUTISTA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 200329, June 05, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RICARDO PIOSANG, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 200402, June 13, 2013 - PRIVATIZATION AND MANAGEMENT OFFICE, Petitioner, v. STRATEGIC ALLIANCE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND/OR PHILIPPINE ESTATE CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 200507, June 26, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. PETER LINDA Y GEROLAGA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 200837, June 05, 2013 - MAERSK FILIPINAS CREWING INC./MAERSK SERVICES LTD., AND/OR MR. JEROME DELOS ANGELES, Petitioners, v. NELSON E. MESINA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 200882, June 13, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ABEL DIAZ, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 201251, June 26, 2013 - INTER-ORIENT MARITIME, INCORPORATED AND/OR TANKOIL CARRIERS, LIMITED, Petitioners, v. CRISTINA CANDAVA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 201701, June 03, 2013 - UNILEVER PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner, v. MARIA RUBY M. RIVERA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 201723, June 13, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. PERCIVAL DELA ROSA Y BAYER, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 203041, June 05, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MOISES CAOILE, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 205033, June 18, 2013 - ROMEO G. JALOSJOS, Petitioner, v. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, MARIA ISABELLE G. CLIMACO-SALAZAR, ROEL B. NATIVIDAD, ARTURO N. ONRUBIA, AHMAD NARZAD K. SAMPANG, JOSE L. LOBREGAT, ADELANTE ZAMBOANGA PARTY, AND ELBERT C. ATILANO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 207264, June 25, 2013 - REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JOSEPH SOCORRO B. TAN, Respondents.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-11-1778 (Formerly OCA IPI No. 08-1966- MTJ), June 05, 2013 - MARICOR L. GARADO, Complainant, v. REYES, JJ. JUDGE LIZABETH GUTIERREZ-TORRES, Respondent.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1448 (FORMERLY OCA IPI NO. 99-664-P), June 23, 2013 - RODOLFO C. SABIDONG, Complainant, v. NICOLASITO S. SOLAS (CLERK OF COURT IV), Respondent.

  • A.M. No. P-08-2439 (Formerly OCA IPI No. 08-2733-P), June 25, 2013 - JUDGE MA. MONINA S. MISAJON, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT (MTC), SAN JOSE, ANTIQUE, Complainant, v. JERENCE P. HIPONIA, CLERK II, ELIZABETH B. ESCANILLAS, STENOGRAPHER I, WILLIAM M. YGLESIAS, PROCESS SERVER, AND CONRADO A. RAFOLS, JR., UTILITY AIDE, ALL OF THE SAME COURT, Respondents.

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  • A.M. No. RTJ-09-2181 [Formerly A.M. No. 09-4-174-RTJ], June 25, 2013 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. RETIRED JUDGE GUILLERMO R. ANDAYA, Respondent.

  • A.M. NO. SCC-08-11-P, June 18, 2013 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Complainant, v. ISMAEL A. HADJI ALI, COURT STENOGRAPHER I, SHARI'A CIRCUIT COURT, TUBOD, LANAO DEL NORTE [FORMERLY A.M. NO. 04-9-03-SCC] (RE: FORMAL CHARGE BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION VS. ISMAEL A. HADJI ALI, COURT STENOGRAPHER I, SHARI'A CIRCUIT COURT, TUBOD, LANAO DEL NORTE), Respondent.

  • A.M. SB -13-20-P [Formerly A.M. No. 12-29-SB-P], June 26, 2013 - RIA PAMELA B. ABULENCIA AND BLESSIE M. BURGONIO, COMPLAINANTS, v. REGINO R. HERMOSISIMA, SECURITY GUARD II, SHERIFF AND SECURITY DIVISION, SANDIGANBAYAN, Respondent.

  • Adm. Case No. 7332, June 18, 2013 - EDUARDO A. ABELLA, Complainant, v. RICARDO G. BARRIOS, JR., Respondent.

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    G.R. No. 207264, June 25, 2013 - REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JOSEPH SOCORRO B. TAN, Respondents.

      G.R. No. 207264, June 25, 2013 - REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JOSEPH SOCORRO B. TAN, Respondents.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    G.R. No. 207264, June 25, 2013

    REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JOSEPH SOCORRO B. TAN, Respondents.

    R E S O L U T I O N

    PEREZ, J.:

    Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction and/or Status Quo Ante Order dated 7 June 2013 filed by petitioner Regina Ongsiako Reyes, assailing the Resolutions dated 27 March 2013 and 14 May 2013 issued by public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in SPA No. 13-053.  The assailed Resolutions ordered the cancellation of the Certificate of Candidacy of petitioner for the position of Representative of the lone district of Marinduque.

    On 31 October 2012, respondent Joseph Socorro Tan, a registered voter and resident of the Municipality of Torrijos, Marinduque, filed before the COMELEC an Amended Petition to Deny Due Course or to Cancel the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of petitioner on the ground that it contained material misrepresentations, specifically: (1) that she is single when she is married to Congressman Herminaldo I. Mandanas of Batangas;1 (2) that she is a resident of Brgy. Lupac, Boac, Marinduque when she is a resident of Bauan, Batangas which is the residence of her husband, and at the same time, when she is also a resident of 135 J.P. Rizal, Brgy. Milagrosa, Quezon City as admitted in the Directory of Congressional Spouses of the House of Representatives;2 (3) that her date of birth is 3 July 1964 when other documents show that her birthdate is either 8 July 1959 or 3 July 1960;3 (4) that she is not a permanent resident of another country when she is a permanent resident or an immigrant4 of the United States of America;5 and (5) that she is a Filipino citizen when she is, in fact, an American citizen.6

    In her Answer, petitioner countered that, while she is publicly known to be the wife of Congressman Herminaldo I. Mandanas (Congressman Mandanas), there is no valid and binding marriage between them.  According to petitioner, although her marriage with Congressman Mandanas was solemnized in a religious rite, it did not comply with certain formal requirements prescribed by the Family Code, rendering it void ab initio.7 Consequently, petitioner argues that as she is not duty-bound to live with Congressman Mandanas, then his residence cannot be attributed to her.8  As to her date of birth, the Certificate of Live Birth issued by the National Statistics Office shows that it was on 3 July 1964.9  Lastly, petitioner notes that the allegation that she is a permanent resident and/or a citizen of the United States of America is not supported by evidence.10

    During the course of the proceedings, on 8 February 2013, respondent filed a “Manifestation with Motion to Admit Newly Discovered Evidence and Amended List of Exhibits”11 consisting of, among others:  (1) a copy of an article published on the internet on 8 January 2013 entitled “Seeking and Finding the Truth about Regina O. Reyes” with an Affidavit of Identification and Authenticity of Document executed by its author Eliseo J. Obligacion, which provides a database record of the Bureau of Immigration indicating that petitioner is an American citizen and a holder of a U.S. passport; (2) a Certification of Travel Records of petitioner, issued by Simeon Sanchez, Acting Chief, Verification and Certification Unit of the Bureau of Immigration which indicates that petitioner used a U.S. Passport in her various travels abroad.

    On 27 March 2013, the COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution12 cancelling petitioner’s COC, to wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant Petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES is hereby CANCELLED.

    The COMELEC First Division found that, contrary to the declarations that she made in her COC, petitioner is not a citizen of the Philippines because of her failure to comply with the requirements of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, namely: (1) to take an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; and (2) to make a personal and sworn renunciation of her American citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.  In addition, the COMELEC First Division ruled that she did not have the one-year residency requirement under Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.13  Thus, she is ineligible to run for the position of Representative for the lone district of Marinduque.

    Not agreeing with the Resolution of the COMELEC First Division, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration14 on 8 April 2013 claiming that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and that she has not lost such status by simply obtaining and using an American passport.  Additionally, petitioner surmised that the COMELEC First Division relied on the fact of her marriage to an American citizen in concluding that she is a naturalized American citizen.  Petitioner averred, however, that such marriage only resulted into dual citizenship, thus there is no need for her to fulfill the twin requirements under R.A. No. 9225.  Still, petitioner attached an Affidavit of Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship sworn to before a Notary Public on 24 September 2012.  As to her alleged lack of the one-year residency requirement prescribed by the Constitution, she averred that, as she never became a naturalized citizen, she never lost her domicile of origin, which is Boac, Marinduque.

    On 14 May 2013, the COMELEC En Banc, promulgated a Resolution15 denying petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit.

    Four days thereafter or on 18 May 2013, petitioner was proclaimed winner of the 13 May 2013 Elections.

    On 5 June 2013, the COMELEC En Banc issued a Certificate of Finality16 declaring the 14 May 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc final and executory, considering that more than twenty-one (21) days have elapsed from the date of promulgation with no order issued by this Court restraining its execution.17

    On same day, petitioner took her oath of office18 before Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    Petitioner has yet to assume office, the term of which officially starts at noon of 30 June 2013.

    In the present Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction and/or Status Quo Ante Order, petitioner raises the following issues:19

    31) Whether or not Respondent Comelec is without jurisdiction over Petitioner who is a duly proclaimed winner and who has already taken her oath of office for the position of Member of the House of Representatives for the lone congressional district of Marinduque.

    32) Whether or not Respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it took cognizance of Respondent Tan’s alleged “newly-discovered evidence” without the same having been testified on and offered and admitted in evidence which became the basis for its Resolution of the case without giving the petitioner the opportunity to question and present controverting evidence, in violation of Petitioner’s right to due process of law.

    33) Whether or not Respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it declared that Petitioner is not a Filipino citizen and did not meet the residency requirement for the position of Member of the House of Representatives.

    34) Whether or not Respondent Commission on Elections committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when, by enforcing the provisions of Republic Act No. 9225, it imposed additional qualifications to the qualifications of a Member of the House of Representatives as enumerated in Section 6 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

    The petition must fail.

    At the outset, it is observed that the issue of jurisdiction of respondent COMELEC vis-a-vis that of House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) appears to be a non-issue.  Petitioner is taking an inconsistent, if not confusing, stance for while she seeks remedy before this Court, she is asserting that it is the HRET which has jurisdiction over her.  Thus, she posits that the issue on her eligibility and qualifications to be a Member of the House of Representatives is best discussed in another tribunal of competent jurisdiction.  It appears then that petitioner’s recourse to this Court was made only in an attempt to enjoin the COMELEC from implementing its final and executory judgment in SPA No. 13-053.

    Nevertheless, we pay due regard to the petition, and consider each of the issues raised by petitioner.  The need to do so, and at once, was highlighted during the discussion En Banc on 25 June 2013 where and when it was emphasized that the term of office of the Members of the House of Representatives begins on the thirtieth day of June next following their election.

    According to petitioner, the COMELEC was ousted of its jurisdiction when she was duly proclaimed20  because pursuant to Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, the HRET has the exclusive jurisdiction to be the “sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications” of the Members of the House of Representatives.

    Contrary to petitioner’s claim, however, the COMELEC retains jurisdiction for the following reasons:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    First, the HRET does not acquire jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner’s qualifications, as well as over the assailed COMELEC Resolutions, unless a petition is duly filed with said tribunal.  Petitioner has not averred that she has filed such action.

    Second, the jurisdiction of the HRET begins only after the candidate is considered a Member of the House of Representatives, as stated in Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    Section 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members.  x x x

    As held in Marcos v. COMELEC,21 the HRET does not have jurisdiction over a candidate who is not a member of the House of Representatives, to wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    As to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal’s supposed assumption of jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner’s qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections, suffice it to say that HRET’s jurisdiction as the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of Congress begins only after a candidate has become a member of the House of Representatives. Petitioner not being a member of the House of Representatives, it is obvious that the HRET at this point has no jurisdiction over the question. (Emphasis supplied.)

    The next inquiry, then, is when is a candidate considered a Member of the House of Representatives?

    In Vinzons-Chato v. COMELEC,22 citing Aggabao v. COMELEC23 and Guerrero v. COMELEC,24 the Court ruled that:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    The Court has invariably held that once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the House of Representatives, the COMELEC’s jurisdiction over election contests relating to his election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRET’s own jurisdiction begins. (Emphasis supplied.)

    This pronouncement was reiterated in the case of Limkaichong v. COMELEC,25 wherein the Court, referring to the jurisdiction of the COMELEC vis-a-vis the HRET, held that:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    The Court has invariably held that once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the House of Representatives, the COMELEC's jurisdiction over election contests relating to his election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRET's own jurisdiction begins. (Emphasis supplied.)

    This was again affirmed in Gonzalez v. COMELEC,26 to wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    After proclamation, taking of oath and assumption of office by Gonzalez, jurisdiction over the matter of his qualifications, as well as questions regarding the conduct of election and contested returns – were transferred to the HRET as the constitutional body created to pass upon the same. (Emphasis supplied.)

    From the foregoing, it is then clear that to be considered a Member of the House of Representatives, there must be a concurrence of the following requisites: (1) a valid proclamation, (2) a proper oath, and (3) assumption of office.

    Indeed, in some cases, this Court has made the pronouncement that once a proclamation has been made, COMELEC’s jurisdiction is already lost and, thus, its jurisdiction over contests relating to elections, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRET’s own jurisdiction begins.  However, it must be noted that in these cases, the doctrinal pronouncement was made in the context of a proclaimed candidate who had not only taken an oath of office, but who had also assumed office.

    For instance, in the case of Dimaporo v. COMELEC,27 the Court upheld the jurisdiction of the HRET against that of the COMELEC only after the candidate had been proclaimed, taken his oath of office before the Speaker of the House, and assumed the duties of a Congressman on 26 September 2007, or after the start of his term on 30 June 2007, to wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    On October 8, 2007, private respondent Belmonte filed his comment in which he brought to Our attention that on September 26, 2007, even before the issuance of the status quo ante order of the Court, he had already been proclaimed by the PBOC as the duly elected Member of the House of Representatives of the First Congressional District of Lanao del Norte.  On that very same day, he had taken his oath before Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia, Jr. and assumed his duties accordingly.

    In light of this development, jurisdiction over this case has already been transferred to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). (Emphasis supplied.)

    Apparently, the earlier cases were decided after the questioned candidate had already assumed office, and hence, was already considered a Member of the House of Representatives, unlike in the present case.

    Here, the petitioner cannot be considered a Member of the House of Representatives because, primarily, she has not yet assumed office.  To repeat what has earlier been said, the term of office of a Member of the House of Representatives begins only “at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election.28 Thus, until such time, the COMELEC retains jurisdiction.

    In her attempt to comply with the second requirement, petitioner attached a purported Oath Of Office taken before Hon. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on 5 June 2013. However, this is not the oath of office which confers membership to the House of Representatives.

    Section 6, Rule II (Membership) of the Rules of the House of Representatives provides:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    Section 6. Oath or Affirmation of Members. – Members shall take their oath or affirmation either collectively or individually before the Speaker in open session.

    Consequently, before there is a valid or official taking of the oath it must be made (1) before the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and (2) in open session.  Here, although she made the oath before Speaker Belmonte, there is no indication that it was made during plenary or in open session and, thus, it remains unclear whether the required oath of office was indeed complied with.

    More importantly, we cannot disregard a fact basic in this controversy – that before the proclamation of petitioner on 18 May 2013, the COMELEC En Banc had already finally disposed of the issue of petitioner’s lack of Filipino citizenship and residency via its Resolution dated 14 May 2013.  After 14 May 2013, there was, before the COMELEC, no longer any pending case on petitioner’s qualifications to run for the position of Member of the House of Representative.  We will inexcusably disregard this fact if we accept the argument of the petitioner that the COMELEC was ousted of jurisdiction when she was proclaimed, which was four days after the COMELEC En Banc decision.  The Board of Canvasser which proclaimed petitioner cannot by such act be allowed to render nugatory a decision of the COMELEC En Banc which affirmed a decision of the COMELEC First Division.

    Indeed, the assailed Resolution of the COMELEC First Division which was promulgated on 27 March 2013, and the assailed Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc which was promulgated on 14 May 2013, became final and executory on 19 May 2013 based on Section 3, Rule 37 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure which provides:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    Section 3. Decisions Final after five days.  Decisions in pre-proclamation cases and petitions to deny due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy, to declare nuisance candidate or to disqualify a candidate, and to postpone or suspend elections shall become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days from their promulgation unless restrained by the Supreme Court.

    To prevent the assailed Resolution dated 14 May 2013 from becoming final and executory, petitioner should have availed herself of Section 1, Rule 3729 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure or Rule 6430 of the Rules of Court by filing a petition before this Court within the 5-day period, but she failed to do so.  She would file the present last hour petition on 10 June 2013.  Hence, on 5 June 2013, respondent COMELEC rightly issued a Certificate of Finality.

    As to the issue of whether petitioner failed to prove her Filipino citizenship, as well as her one-year residency in Marinduque, suffice it to say that the COMELEC committed no grave abuse of discretion in finding her ineligible for the position of Member of the House of Representatives.

    Petitioner alleges that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it took cognizance of “newly-discovered evidence” without the same having been testified on and offered and admitted in evidence.  She assails the admission of the blog article of Eli Obligacion as hearsay and the photocopy of the Certification from the Bureau of Immigration.  She likewise contends that there was a violation of her right to due process of law because she was not given the opportunity to question and present controverting evidence.

    Her contentions are incorrect.

    It must be emphasized that the COMELEC is not bound to strictly adhere to the technical rules of procedure in the presentation of evidence. Under Section 2 of Rule I, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure “shall be liberally construed in order x xx to achieve just, expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the Commission.”  In view of the fact that the proceedings in a petition to deny due course or to cancel certificate of candidacy are summary in nature, then the “newly discovered evidence” was properly admitted by respondent COMELEC.

    Furthermore, there was no denial of due process in the case at bar as petitioner was given every opportunity to argue her case before the COMELEC.  From 10 October 2012 when Tan’s petition was filed up to 27 March 2013 when the First Division rendered its resolution, petitioner had a period of five (5) months to adduce evidence.  Unfortunately, she did not avail herself of the opportunity given her.

    Also, in administrative proceedings, procedural due process only requires that the party be given the opportunity or right to be heard. As held in the case of Sahali v. COMELEC:31

    The petitioners should be reminded that due process does not necessarily mean or require a hearing, but simply an opportunity or right to be heard. One may be heard, not solely by verbal presentation but also, and perhaps many times more creditably and predictable than oral argument, through pleadings. In administrative proceedings moreover, technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied; administrative process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense. Indeed, deprivation of due process cannot be successfully invoked where a party was given the chance to be heard on his motion for reconsideration. (Emphasis supplied)

    As to the ruling that petitioner is ineligible to run for office on the ground of citizenship, the COMELEC First Division, discoursed as follows:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    “x x x for respondent to reacquire her Filipino citizenship and become eligible for public office, the law requires that she must have accomplished the following acts: (1) take the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the Consul-General of the Philippine Consulate in the USA; and (2) make a personal and sworn renunciation of her American citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.

    In the case at bar, there is no showing that respondent complied with the aforesaid requirements.  Early on in the proceeding, respondent hammered on petitioner’s lack of proof regarding her American citizenship, contending that it is petitioner’s burden to present a case.  She, however, specifically denied that she has become either a permanent resident or naturalized citizen of the USA.

    Due to petitioner’s submission of newly-discovered evidence thru a Manifestation dated February 7, 2013, however, establishing the fact that respondent is a holder of an American passport which she continues to use until June 30, 2012, petitioner was able to substantiate his allegations.  The burden now shifts to respondent to present substantial evidence to prove otherwise.  This, the respondent utterly failed to do, leading to the conclusion inevitable that respondent falsely misrepresented in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. Unless and until she can establish that she had availed of the privileges of RA 9225 by becoming a dual Filipino-American citizen, and thereafter, made a valid sworn renunciation of her American citizenship, she remains to be an American citizen and is, therefore, ineligible to run for and hold any elective public office in the Philippines.”32 (Emphasis supplied.)

    Let us look into the events that led to this petition: In moving for the cancellation of petitioner’s COC, respondent submitted records of the Bureau of Immigration showing that petitioner is a holder of a US passport, and that her status is that of a “balikbayan.”  At this point, the burden of proof shifted to petitioner, imposing upon her the duty to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and has not lost the same, or that she has re-acquired such status in accordance with the provisions of R.A. No. 9225.  Aside from the bare allegation that she is a natural-born citizen, however, petitioner submitted no proof to support such contention.  Neither did she submit any proof as to the inapplicability of R.A. No. 9225 to her.

    Notably, in her Motion for Reconsideration before the COMELEC En Banc, petitioner admitted that she is a holder of a US passport, but she averred that she is only a dual Filipino-American citizen, thus the requirements of R.A. No. 9225 do not apply to her. 33  Still, attached to the said motion is an Affidavit of Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship dated 24 September 2012.34  Petitioner explains that she attached said Affidavit “if only to show her desire and zeal to serve the people and to comply with rules, even as a superfluity.”35  We cannot, however, subscribe to petitioner’s explanation.  If petitioner executed said Affidavit “if only to comply with the rules,” then it is an admission that R.A. No. 9225 applies to her.  Petitioner cannot claim that she executed it to address the observations by the COMELEC as the assailed Resolutions were promulgated only in 2013, while the Affidavit was executed in September 2012.

    Moreover, in the present petition, petitioner added a footnote to her oath of office as Provincial Administrator, to this effect: “This does not mean that Petitioner did not, prior to her taking her oath of office as Provincial Administrator, take her oath of allegiance for purposes of re-acquisition of natural-born Filipino status, which she reserves to present in the proper proceeding.  The reference to the taking of oath of office is in order to make reference to what is already part of the records and evidence in the present case and to avoid injecting into the records evidence on matters of fact that was not previously passed upon by Respondent COMELEC.”36  This statement raises a lot of questions – Did petitioner execute an oath of allegiance for re-acquisition of natural-born Filipino status?  If she did, why did she not present it at the earliest opportunity before the COMELEC?  And is this an admission that she has indeed lost her natural-born Filipino status?

    To cover-up her apparent lack of an oath of allegiance as required by R.A. No. 9225, petitioner contends that, since she took her oath of allegiance in connection with her appointment as Provincial Administrator of Marinduque, she is deemed to have reacquired her status as a natural-born Filipino citizen.

    This contention is misplaced.  For one, this issue is being presented for the first time before this Court, as it was never raised before the COMELEC.  For another, said oath of allegiance cannot be considered compliance with Sec. 3 of R.A. No. 9225 as certain requirements have to be met as prescribed by Memorandum Circular No. AFF-04-01, otherwise known as the Rules Governing Philippine Citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 and Memorandum Circular No. AFF-05-002 (Revised Rules) and Administrative Order No. 91, Series of 2004 issued by the Bureau of Immigration.  Thus, petitioner’s oath of office as Provincial Administrator cannot be considered as the oath of allegiance in compliance with R.A. No. 9225.

    These circumstances, taken together, show that a doubt was clearly cast on petitioner’s citizenship.  Petitioner, however, failed to clear such doubt.

    As to the issue of residency, proceeding from the finding that petitioner has lost her natural-born status, we quote with approval the ruling of the COMELEC First Division that petitioner cannot be considered a resident of Marinduque:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    “Thus, a Filipino citizen who becomes naturalized elsewhere effectively abandons his domicile of origin. Upon re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225, he must still show that he chose to establish his domicile in the Philippines through positive acts, and the period of his residency shall be counted from the time he made it his domicile of choice.

    In this case, there is no showing whatsoever that [petitioner] had already re-acquired her Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 so as to conclude that she has regained her domicile in the Philippines. There being no proof that [petitioner] had renounced her American citizenship, it follows that she has not abandoned her domicile of choice in the USA.

    The only proof presented by [petitioner] to show that she has met the one-year residency requirement of the law and never abandoned her domicile of origin in Boac, Marinduque is her claim that she served as Provincial Administrator of the province from January 18, 2011 to July 13, 2011.  But such fact alone is not sufficient to prove her one-year residency. For, [petitioner] has never regained her domicile in Marinduque as she remains to be an American citizen.  No amount of her stay in the said locality can substitute the fact that she has not abandoned her domicile of choice in the USA.37 (Emphasis supplied.)

    All in all, considering that the petition for denial and cancellation of the COC is summary in nature, the COMELEC is given much discretion in the evaluation and admission of evidence pursuant to its principal objective of determining of whether or not the COC should be cancelled.  We held in Mastura v. COMELEC:38

    The rule that factual findings of administrative bodies will not be disturbed by courts of justice except when there is absolutely no evidence or no substantial evidence in support of such findings should be applied with greater force when it concerns the COMELEC, as the framers of the Constitution intended to place the COMELEC — created and explicitly made independent by the Constitution itself — on a level higher than statutory administrative organs. The COMELEC has broad powers to ascertain the true results of the election by means available to it. For the attainment of that end, it is not strictly bound by the rules of evidence.

    Time and again, We emphasize that the “grave abuse of discretion” which warrants this Court’s exercise of certiorari jurisdiction has a well-defined meaning. Guidance is found in Beluso v. Commission on Elections39 where the Court held:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    x x x A petition for certiorari will prosper only if grave abuse of discretion is alleged and proved to exist. "Grave abuse of discretion," under Rule 65, has a specific meaning. It is the arbitrary or despotic exercise of power due to passion, prejudice or personal hostility; or the whimsical, arbitrary, or capricious exercise of power that amounts to an evasion or refusal to perform a positive duty enjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of law. For an act to be struck down as having been done with grave abuse of discretion, the abuse of discretion must be patent and gross. (Emphasis supplied.)

    Here, this Court finds that petitioner failed to adequately and substantially show that grave abuse of discretion exists.

    Lastly, anent the proposition of petitioner that the act of the COMELEC in enforcing the provisions of R.A. No. 9225, insofar as it adds to the qualifications of Members of the House of Representatives other than those enumerated in the Constitution, is unconstitutional, We find the same meritless.

    The COMELEC did not impose additional qualifications on candidates for the House of Representatives who have acquired foreign citizenship.  It merely applied the qualifications prescribed by Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution that the candidate must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and must have one-year residency prior to the date of elections.  Such being the case, the COMELEC did not err when it inquired into the compliance by petitioner of Sections 3 and 5 of R.A. No. 9225 to determine if she reacquired her status as a natural-born Filipino citizen.  It simply applied the constitutional provision and nothing more.

    IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is DISMISSED, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Commission on Elections.  The 14 May 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc affirming the 27 March 2013 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division is upheld.

    SO ORDERED.

    Sereno, C.J., Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Abad, Jr., and Reyes, JJ., concur.
    Carpio, Villarama, and Leonen, JJ. joins the dissent of J. Brion.
    Velasco, Jr., and Mendoza, JJ., no part.
    Brion, J., see dissent.
    Peralta, J., on official leave.
    Perlas-Bernabe, J., no part due to voluntary inhibition.


    Endnotes:


    1Rollo, p. 70.cralawlibrary

    2 Id..cralawlibrary

    3 Id. at 71.cralawlibrary

    4 Respondent relies on the following facts: (a) [petitioner] was admitted to the California State Bar  on June 12, 1995; (b) [petitioner] maintained a US address and earned her undergraduate studies in  Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; (c) [petitioner] married an American citizen named Saturnino S. Ador Dionisio in 1997, which marriage was subsequently dissolved; and (4)  [petitioner] acquired properties and established businesses in the U.S.; Comelec Resolution  dated 27 March 2013. Id. at 44.cralawlibrary

    5 Id. at 71.cralawlibrary

    6 Id. at 72.cralawlibrary

    7 Id. at 84.cralawlibrary

    8 Id. at 87.cralawlibrary

    9 Id. at 93.cralawlibrary

    10 Id. at 94.cralawlibrary

    11 Id at 127-139.cralawlibrary

    12 Id. at 40-51.cralawlibrary

    13 Section 6.  No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural- born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age,  able to read and write, and, except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.cralawlibrary

    14 Id. at 140-157.cralawlibrary

    15 Id. at 52-60.cralawlibrary

    16 Id. at 163-165.cralawlibrary

    17 Section 13, Rule 18 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure in relation to Par. 2, Sec. 8 of  Resolution No. 9523 provides that a decision or resolution of the COMELEC En Banc in special actions and special cases shall become final and executory five (5) days after its promulgation  unless a restraining order is issued by the Supreme Court.  Sec. 3, Rule 37, Part VII also provides  that decisions in petitions to deny due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy shall become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days from promulgation, unless restrained by the Supreme Court.cralawlibrary

    18 Id. at 162.cralawlibrary

    19 Id. at 9.cralawlibrary

    20 Id.cralawlibrary

    21 318 Phil. 329, 397 (1995).cralawlibrary

    22 G.R. No. 172131, 2 April 2007, 520 SCRA 166, 179.cralawlibrary

    23 G.R. No. 163756, 26 January 2005, 449 SCRA 400, 404-405.cralawlibrary

    24 391 Phil. 344, 352 (2000).cralawlibrary

    25 G.R. Nos. 179240-41, 1 April 2009, 583 SCRA 1, 33.cralawlibrary

    26 G.R. No. 192856, 8 March 2011, 644 SCRA 761, 798-799.cralawlibrary

    27 G.R. No. 179285, 11 February 2008, 544 SCRA 381, 390.cralawlibrary

    28 Section 7, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.cralawlibrary

    29 Section 1. Petition for Certiorari; and Time to File.—Unless otherwise provided by law, or by any specific provisions in these Rules, any decision, order or ruling of the Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty (30) days from its promulgation.cralawlibrary

    30 Section 2. Mode of review.—A judgment or final order or resolution of the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit may be brought by the aggrieved party to the Supreme Court on certiorari under Rule 65, except as hereinafter provided.cralawlibrary

    31 G.R. No. 201796, 15 January 2013.cralawlibrary

    32Rollo, pp. 47-48.cralawlibrary

    33 Id. at 148.cralawlibrary

    34 Id. at 154.cralawlibrary

    35 Id. at 149.cralawlibrary

    36 Id. at 26.cralawlibrary

    37 Id. at 49-50.cralawlibrary

    38 G.R. No. 124521 29 January 1998, 285 SCRA 493, 499.cralawlibrary

    39 G.R. No. 180711, 22 June 2010, 621 SCRA 450, 456.






    DISSENTING OPINION

    BRION, J.:

    The petition before us is a petition for certiorari1 with a prayer for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and/or status quo ante order, that seeks to annul: (1) the respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) March 27, 20132 and May 14, 20133 Comelec Resolutions cancelling petitioner Regina Ongsiako Reyes’ (petitioner or Reyes) Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the position of Representative in the lone district of Marinduque, and (2) the June 5, 2013 Certificate of Finality4 declaring the May 14, 2013 Resolution final and executory in SPA Case No. 13-053(DC).

    I. The Case and the Dissent in Context

    I submit this Dissenting Opinion to express my strong reservations to the majority’s outright dismissal of this most unusual case – a term I do not use lightly as shown by the reasons stated below.

    I clarify at the outset that  the present case is at its inception stage; it is a newly filed petition that the Court is acting upon for the first time and which the majority opted to DISMISS OUTRIGHT after an initial review, based solely on the petition and its annexes and its “finding [that there was] no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Commission on Elections.”

    Subsequent to the Comelec’s rulings, however, intervening events occurred that might have materially affected the jurisdictional situation and the procedural requirements in handling and resolving the case. The petitioner was proclaimed as the winner by the Marinduque Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC), and she subsequently took her oath of office.

    This Dissent is filed, not on the basis of the intrinsic merits of the case, but because of the outright and reckless denial of the minority’s plea that the respondents be required to at least COMMENT on the petition in light of the gravity of the issues raised, the potential effect on jurisprudence, and the affected personal relationships within and outside the Court, before any further action can be made. The presented issues refer to –

    -   the Court’s lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the petition, which jurisdiction should now lie with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), and

    -   the grave abuse of discretion by the COMELEC in handling the case that led to the assailed COMELEC decision.

    Viewed in these lights, it should be appreciated that the Court in effect did not rule on the merits of the case after considering the parties’ legal and factual positions. The majority’s Resolution is in fact only a ruling that the Court no longer wishes to review the Comelec’s rulings despite the issues raised and the attendant intervening circumstances.

    Despite its seemingly simple approach, the Court’s outright dismissal of the petition is replete with profound effects on the petitioner on the indirect beneficiary of the ruling, and on jurisprudence, as it effectively upholds the disqualification of petitioner and leaves the remaining candidate in Marinduque as an unopposed candidate.5  What is not easily seen by the lay observer is that by immediately ruling and avoiding the jurisdiction of the HRET on the matter of qualification, the majority avoids a quo warranto petition that, if successful, would render petitioner Reyes disqualified, leaving the congressional position in Marinduque’s lone district vacant.

    Significantly, the Dissent is not a lonely one made solely by the undersigned; he is joined by three (3) other Justices.6  Seven (7) Justices7 formed the majority with three (3) Justices inhibiting for personal reasons,8 with one (1) Justice absent.9

    II.   Summary of the Dissent’s Supporting Positions

    That this unusual case at least deserves further proceedings from this Court other than the OUTRIGHT DISMISSAL the majority ordered, is supported by the following considerations:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    First, the questions raised in the petition are NOT too unsubstantial to warrant further proceedings.

    1. Under Section 6, Rule 64 of the Rules of Court, the Court may dismiss the petition if it was filed manifestly for delay, or the questions raised are too unsubstantial to warrant further proceedings.  In the present case, the majority dismissed the petition outright despite the threshold issue of jurisdiction that Reyes squarely raised.

    2. The due process issues Reyes raised with respect to the COMELEC proceedings cannot be taken lightly, in particular, the COMELEC’s failure to accord her the opportunity to question the nature and authenticity of the evidence submitted by the respondent Joseph Tan (Tan) as well as controverting evidence the petition cited.  In fact, no less than Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., echoed this concern in his Dissenting Opinion from the May 14, 2013 Resolution of the Comelec en banc.

    3. A third issue raised relates to the COMELEC’s imposition of a qualification for the position of congressman, other than those mentioned in the Constitution.  The Court’s Resolution glossed over this issue and did not touch it at all. For this reason, this Dissent will similarly refrain from discussing the issue, except to state that the issue raised touches on the Constitution and should have at least merited a passing mention by the Court in its immediate and outright dismissal of the petition.

    Second, unless the case is clearly and patently shown to be without basis and out of our sense of delicadeza (which we should have), the Court should at least hear and consider both sides before making a ruling that would favor the son of a Member of the Court.

    To reiterate, the Comelec en banc ruling cancelling Reyes’ CoC means that: (1) Reyes’ CoC is void ab initio; (2) that she was never a valid candidate at all; and (3) all the votes in her favor are stray votes. Consequently, the remaining candidate would be declared the winner, as held in Aratea v. Commission on Elections10 Jalosjos, Jr. v. Commission on Elections11 and Maquiling v. Commission on Elections.12

    Third, the majority’s holding that the jurisdiction of the HRET only begins after the candidate has assumed the office on June 30 is contrary to prevailing jurisprudence; in fact, it is a major retrogressive jurisprudential development that can emasculate the HRET. In making this kind of ruling, the Court should have at least undertaken a full-blown proceeding rather than simply declare the immediate and outright dismissal of the petition.

    Note in this regard that the majority’s jurisprudential ruling –
    1. is contrary to the HRET rules.

    2. effectively allows the filing of any election protest or a petition for quo warranto only after the assumption to office by the candidate on June 30 at the earliest.  In the context of the present case, any election protest protest or petition for quo warranto filed on or after June 30 would be declared patently out of time since the filing would be more than fifteen (15) days from Reyes’ proclamation on May 18, 2013.

    3. would affect all future proclamations since they cannot be earlier than 15 days counted from the June 30 constitutional cut-off for the assumption to office of the newly elected officials.

    III.  The Assailed Comelec Petition

    A.  The Petition Before the COMELEC 

    The present petition before this Court and its attachments show that on October 1, 2012, Reyes filed her CoC for the position of Representative for the lone district of Marinduque.  On October 10, 2012, Tan filed with the Comelec a petition to deny due course or to cancel Reyes’ CoC.  Tan alleged that Reyes committed material misrepresentations in her CoC, specifically: (1) that she is a resident of Brgy. Lupac, Boac Marinduque when in truth she is a resident of 135 J.P. Rizal, Brgy. Milagrosa Quezon City or Bauan Batangas following the residence of her husband; (2) that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen; (3) that she is not a permanent resident of, or an immigrant to, a foreign country; (4) that her date of birth is July 3, 1964, when in truth it is July 3, 1958; (5) that her civil status is single; and (6) that she is eligible for the office she seeks to be elected to.

    B.  The COMELEC Proceedings

    In her Answer, Reyes averred that while she is publicly known to be the wife of Rep. Hermilando Mandanas of Bauan, Batangas, the truth of the matter is that they are not legally married; thus, Mandanas’ residence cannot be attributed to her.  She also countered that the evidence presented by Tan does not support the allegation that she is a permanent resident or a citizen of the United States.  With respect to her birth date, her birth certificate issued by the NSO showed that it was on July 3, 1964.  At any rate, Reyes contended that the representations as to her civil status and date of birth are not material so as to warrant the cancellation of her CoC.

    On February 8, 2013, Tan filed a Manifestation with Motion to Admit Newly Discovered Evidence and Amended List of Exhibits consisting of, among others, a copy of an article published online on January 8, 2013 entitled “Seeking and Finding the Truth about Regina O. Reyes.”  This article provided a database record from the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) indicating that Reyes is an American citizen and a holder of a US passport that she has been using since 2005.  Tan also submitted a photocopy of a Certification of Travel Records from the BID, which showed that Reyes holds a US passport No. 306278853. Based on these pieces of evidence and the fact that Reyes failed to take an Oath of Allegiance and execute an Affidavit of Renunciation of her American citizenship pursuant to Republic Act No. 9225 (RA 9225), Tan argued that Reyes’ was ineligible to run for the position of Representative and thus, her CoC should be cancelled.

    C.  The Comelec First Division Ruling

    On March 27, 2013, the Comelec First Division issued a Resolution granting the petition and cancelling Reyes’ CoC. On the alleged misrepresentations in Reyes’ CoC with respect to her civil status and birth date, the Comelec First Division held that these are not material representations that could affect her qualifications or eligibility, thus cancellation of CoC on these grounds is not warranted.

    The Comelec First Division, however, found that Reyes committed false material representation with respect to her citizenship and residency.  Based on the newly discovered evidence submitted by Tan, the Comelec First Division found that Reyes was a holder of a US passport, which she continued to use until June 30, 2012; she also failed to establish that she had applied for repatriation under RA 9225 by taking the required Oath of Allegiance and executing an Affidavit of Renunciation of her American Citizenship.  Based on these findings, the Comelec First Division ruled the Reyes remains to be an American citizen, and thus, is ineligible to run and hold any elective office.

    On the issue of her residency in Brgy. Lupac, Boac, Marinduque, the Comelec First Division found that Reyes did not regain her domicile of origin in Boac, Marinduque after she lost it when she became a naturalized US citizen; that Reyes had not shown that she had re-acquired her Filipino citizenship under RA 9225, there being no proof that she had renounced her US citizenship; thus, she has not abandoned her domicile of choice in America.  Citing Japzon v. Commission on Elections,13 the Comelec First Division held that a Filipino citizen who becomes naturalized elsewhere effectively abandons his domicile of origin.  Upon re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship, he must still show that he chose to establish his domicile in the Philippines by positive acts and the period of his residency shall be counted from the time he made it his domicile of choice.

    Finally, the Comelec First Division disregarded Reyes’ proof that she met the one-year residency requirement when she served as Provincial Administrator of the province of Marinduque from January 18, 2011 to July 13, 2011 as it is not sufficient to satisfy the one-year residency requirement.

    On April 8, 2013, Reyes filed her motion for reconsideration. Attached to the motion were an Affidavit of Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship dated September 21, 2012 and a Voter Certification in Boac, Marinduque dated April 17, 2012.  In her Motion, Reyes admitted that she was married to an American citizen named Saturnino S. Ador Dionisio in 1997 and thus, she acquired dual citizenship through marriage to an American citizen.

    D.  The Comelec en banc Ruling

    On May 14, 2013, the Comelec en banc promulgated its Resolution denying Reyes’ motion for reconsideration and affirming the ruling of the Comelec First Division on the ground that the former’s motion was a mere rehash of the arguments she raised against the First Division ruling.

    D-a. Commissioner Lim’s Concurring Opinion

    Commissioner Lim concurred in the result and held that Reyes failed to comply with twin requirements of RA 9225; she belatedly filed her Affidavit of Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship but failed to submit an Oath of Allegiance.  She also failed to prove that she complied with the one-year residency requirement for lack of evidence of any overt or positive act that she had established and maintained her residency in Boac, Marinduque.

    D-b. Chairman Brillantes’ Dissenting Opinion

    Chairman Brillantes dissented from the majority and held that Tan failed to offer substantial evidence to prove that Reyes lost her Filipino citizenship.  He noted that the internet article by a certain Eli Obligacion showing that Reyes used a US passport on June 30, 2012 is hearsay while the purported copy of the BID certification is merely a photocopy and not even a certified true copy of the original, thus similarly inadmissible as evidence.  Chairman Brillantes also emphasized that a petition to deny due course under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) cannot be a pre-election substitute for a quo warranto proceeding. Under prevailing laws, there remains to be no pre-election legal remedy to question the eligibility or lack of qualification of a candidate.  Chairman Brillantes was of the view that a petition to deny due course tackles exclusively the issue of deliberate misrepresentation over a qualification, and not the lack of qualification per se which is the proper subject of a quo warranto proceeding.

    Finally, he opined that the issues pertaining to Reyes’ residence and citizenship requires exhaustive presentation and examination of evidence that are best addressed in a full blown quo warranto proceeding rather than the summary proceedings in the present case.

    IV.  Events Subsequent to the Comelec Decision

    A. On May 18, 2013, the Marinduque PBOC proclaimed Reyes as the duly elected member of the House of Representatives for Marinduque, having garnered the highest number of votes in the total of 52, 209 votes.

    B.  On June 5, 2013, the Comelec en banc issued a Certificate of Finality declaring its May 14, 2013 Resolution final and executory citing paragraph b, Section 13, Rule 18 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure in relation to paragraph 2, Section 8, of Resolution No. 9523 which provides that a decision or resolution of the Commission en banc in Special Actions and Special Cases shall become final and executory five (5) days after its promulgation unless a restraining order is issued by the Supreme Court.

    C. On June 7, 2013, Reyes took her oath of office before House Speaker Rep. Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr.

    V.  The Petition Before this Court

    A.  Positions and Arguments

    In support of her petition before this Court, Reyes submits the following positions and arguments:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    (1)
    Comelec has been ousted of jurisdiction when she was duly proclaimed the winner for the position of Representative of the lone district of Marinduque;
    (2)
    Comelec violated her right to due process when it took cognizance of the documents submitted by Tan that were not testified to, offered and admitted in evidence without giving her the opportunity to question the authenticity of these documents as well as present controverting evidence;
    (3)
    Comelec gravely erred when it declared that petitioner is not a Filipino citizen and did not meet the one year residency requirement despite the finding that he assumed and held office as provincial administrator;
    (4)
    Comelec gravely abused its discretion in enforcing the provision of RA 9225 insofar as it adds to the qualifications of Members of the House of Representatives other than those enumerated in the Constitution.

    B.  The Issues Raised

    As presented to this Court, the petition raised the following issues:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    (1)
    Whether or not the Comelec is ousted of jurisdiction over the petition who is a duly proclaimed winner and who has already taken her oath of office for the position of Member, House of Representatives?
    (2)
    Whether or not the Comelec gravely abused its discretion when it took cognizance of Tan’s newly discovered evidence without having been testified to, as well as offered and admitted in evidence, in violation of Reyes’ right to due process?
    (3)
    Whether or not the Comelec gravely abused its discretion when it declared that Reyes is not a Filipino citizen and did not meet the one-year residency requirement for the position of Member of the House of Representatives?
    (4)
    Whether or not Comelec gravely abused its discretion when, by enforcing RA 9225, it imposed additional qualifications to the qualifications of a Member of the House of Representatives under Section 6, Art. VI of the Constitution?

    How the public respondent COMELEC views the issues presented, particularly the question of jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion are presently unknown elements in these proceedings as the COMELEC has not been heard on the case. To be sure, it should have a say, as a named respondent, especially on the matter of jurisdiction.

    VI.  The Majority Ruling

    On the issue of the COMELEC’s
    jurisdiction 


    Without the benefit of full blown arguments by the parties, the majority ruling ruled on the merits of the jurisdictional issue and held that the Comelec has jurisdiction for the following reasons:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    First, the HRET does not acquire jurisdiction over the issue of Reyes’ qualifications and the assailed Comelec Resolutions unless a petition is filed with the tribunal.

    Second, the jurisdiction of the HRET begins only after the candidate is considered a Member of the House of Representatives.  A candidate is considered a Member of the House of Representatives with the concurrence of three requisites: (a) a valid proclamation; (b) a proper oath; and (c) assumption of office.

    It went on to state that Reyes cannot be considered a Member of the House of Representatives because she had not yet assumed office; she can only do so on June 30, 2013. It pointed out, too, that before Reyes’ proclamation on May 18, 2013, the Comelec en banc had already finally disposed of the issue of Reyes US citizenship and lack of residency; thus, there was no longer any pending case at that time.  In these lights, it held that Comelec continued to have jurisdiction.

    On the issue of admissibility of the
    evidence presented and due process


    The majority emphasized that the Comelec is not strictly bound to adhere to the technical rules of evidence.  Since the proceedings to deny due course or to cancel a CoC are summary in nature, then the newly discovered evidence was properly admitted by the Comelec.  Also, there was no denial of due process since Reyes was given every opportunity to argue her case before the Comelec.

    On the issue of citizenship

    Again ruling on the merits, the majority upheld the Comelec’s finding that based on the Tan’s newly discovered evidence, Reyes is an American citizen and thus is ineligible to run and hold any elective office.  The majority likewise held that the burden of proof had been shifted to Reyes to prove that: (1) she is a natural-born Filipino citizen, and that (2) she re-acquired such status by properly complying with the requirements of RA 9225, and that Reyes had failed to substantiate that she is a natural born Filipino citizen and complied with the requirements of RA 9925.  It emphasized that Reyes inexplicably failed to submit an Oath of Allegiance despite belatedly filing an Oath of Renunciation and that her oath that she took in connection with her appointment as Provincial Administrator does not suffice to satisfy the requirements of RA 9225.

    On the issue of residency 

    The majority similarly affirmed the Comelec’s ruling that Reyes had not abandoned her domicile of choice in the United States and thus did not satisfy the one-year Philippine residency requirement.  It held that Reyes effectively abandoned her domicile of origin in Boac, Marinduque when she became a naturalized US citizen.  In the absence of proof that she had renounced her American citizenship, she cannot be considered to have abandoned her domicile of choice in the US.  The majority also noted that Reyes’ service as Provincial Administrator from January 18, 2011 to July 13, 2011 is not sufficient to prove her one-year residency in Boac, Marinduque.

    VII. Comments On The Majority’s Ruling

    The majority’s unusual approach and strained rulings that already touched on the merits of substantial issues raised should, at the very least,  not be allowed to stand without comments. I call these “comments” as a “refutation” implies a consideration on the merits of properly submitted and debated issues, which did not happen in this case.

    A.  No basis exists to DISMISS the petition outright.

    Section 6 of Rule 64 of the Rules of Court14 merely requires that the petition be sufficient in form and substance to justify an order from the Court to act on the petition and to require the respondents to file their comments.  The same rule also provides that the Court may dismiss the petition outright (as the majority did in the present case) if it was filed manifestly for delay or if the questions raised are too unsubstantial to warrant further proceedings.

    In the present case, the petition is indisputably sufficient in form and substance; no issue on this point was even raised.  Thus, the question before the Court – if Rule 64, Section 6 were to be followed – is whether the issues raised by Reyes were too unsubstantial to warrant further proceedings.

    I submit that the issues raised cannot be unsubstantial as they involve crucial issues of jurisdiction and due process.

    The due process issue, of course, pertained to the assailed COMELEC ruling that admittedly can be evaluated based on the records.  The matter of evaluation, however, is not simply a matter of doing it; it is the very problem that I raise because it must be a meaningful one that fully appreciates the parties’ positions, particularly in a situation where the petition raised arguments that are not without their merits.  In this situation, the Court cannot simply go through the motions of evaluation and then simply strike out the petitioner’s positions.  The Court’s role as adjudicator and the demands of basic fairness require that we should fully hear the parties and rule based on our appreciation of the merits of their positions in light of what the law and established jurisprudence require.
    1. The Due Process Component

    The determination of the merits of the petitioner’s claim point us, at the very least, to the need to consider whether evidence attributed to a person who is not before the Court and whose statement cannot be confirmed for the genuineness, accuracy and truth of the basic fact sought to be established in the case, should be taken as “truth.”  Even casting technical rules of evidence aside, common sense and the minimum sense of fairness dictate that an article in the internet cannot simply be taken to be evidence of the truth of what it says, nor can photocopies of documents not shown to be genuine be taken as proof of the “truth.”  To accept these materials as statements of “truth” is to be partisan and to deny the petitioner her right to both procedural and substantive due process. Again, at the very least, further inquiry should have been made before there was the judgment.

    Some, to be sure, may label the denial of further inquiry to lack of prudence; others, not so charitably minded, may however refer to this as partisanship.

    b.  The Jurisdictional Component.

    The jurisdictional component of the petition is interesting because it involved matters that were not covered by the assailed COMELEC rulings for the simple reason that they were intervening events that transpired outside (although related with) the assailed rulings.  In fact, they involved questions of fact and law separate from those of the assailed COMELEC rulings.  Yet, the majority, in its rush to judgment, lumped them together with the assailed rulings under the dismissive phrase “did not commit any grave abuse of discretion” in the dispositive portion of its ruling.  Such was the haste the majority exhibited in the desire to pronounce swift and dismissive judgment.  I can only surmise that the majority might have considered the jurisdictional issues raised “too insubstantial to warrant further proceedings.”

    Is this still lack of prudence?

    Reyes’ proclamation divested the
    Comelec of jurisdiction over her
    qualifications in favor of the HRET


    The profound effect of the majority’s ruling on HRET jurisdiction and on jurisprudence render comments on this point obligatory, if only to show that the matter is not insubstantial and should further be explored by the Court.

    The majority held that the COMELEC still has jurisdiction because the HRET does not acquire jurisdiction over the issue of the petitioner’s qualifications, as well as over the assailed resolutions unless a petition is duly filed.  The ponencia emphasizes that Reyes has not averred that she has filed such action.

    This line of thought is, to say the least, confusing, particularly on the point of why Reyes who has garnered the majority of the votes cast in Marinduque, who has been proclaimed pursuant to this electoral mandate, and who has since taken her oath of office, would file a petition, either of protest or quo warranto, before the HRET.  Why she would file a petition for certiorari before this Court may be easier to understand – the COMELEC, despite her proclamation and oath, has issued an order mandating her disqualification executory; she may merely want to halt the enforcement of this COMELEC order with the claim that the arena for her election and qualification has shifted now to the HRET and is no longer with the COMELEC.

    In any case, to stick to election law basics, the matter of jurisdiction between the COMELEC and the HRET has always constituted a dichotomy; the relationship between the Comelec and the HRET in terms of jurisdiction is not an appellate one but is mutually exclusive.

    This mutually exclusive jurisdictional relationship is, as a rule, sequential.  This means that the Comelec’s jurisdiction ends when the HRET’s jurisdiction begins. Thus, there is no point in time, when a vacuum in jurisdiction would exist involving congressional candidates.  This jurisdiction, of course, refers to jurisdiction over the subject matter, which no less than the Philippine Constitution governs.  Under Section 17, Article VI, the subject matter of HRET’s jurisdiction is the “election, returns, and qualifications of Members of the House of Representatives.”

    Where one jurisdiction ends and the other begins, is a matter that jurisprudence appears to have settled, but is nevertheless an issue that the Court should perhaps continue to examine and re-examine because of the permutation of possible obtaining situations – which, to my mind, translates to the existence of a critical issue that should be ventilated before this Court if it is to make any definitive ruling on any given situation.

    I submit on this point that the proclamation of the winning candidate is the operative fact that triggers the jurisdiction of the HRET over election contests relating to the winning candidate’s election, return and qualifications.  In other words, the proclamation of a winning candidate divests the Comelec of its jurisdiction over matters pending before it at the time of the proclamation and the party questioning the qualifications of the winning candidate should now present his or her case in a proper proceeding (i.e. quo warranto) before the HRET who, by constitutional mandate, has the sole jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving the election, returns and qualification of members of the House of Representatives.

    The Court has interestingly rendered various rulings on the points which all point to the statement above.  In Limkaichong v. Comelec,15 the Court pointedly held that the proclamation of a winning candidate divests the Comelec of its jurisdiction over matters pending before it at the time of the proclamation.16

    The Court speaking through no less than Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad in the recent case of Jalosjos, Jr. v Commission on Elections17 held that the settled rule is that “the proclamation of a congressional candidate following the election divests COMELEC of jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the proclaimed Representative in favor of the HRET18

    Based on these considerations, it appears clear that any ruling from this Court – as the majority ruled – that the Comelec retains jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the proclaimed representative who has been proclaimed but not yet assumed office is a major retrogressive jurisprudential development, in fact, a complete turnaround from the Court’s prevailing jurisprudence on the matter; such rule – if it becomes established – can very well emasculate the HRET.

    Thus, the Court should now fully hear this matter, instead of dismissively ruling on a new petition where the respondent side has not been fully heard.

    The ponencia’s holding on the Comelec’s jurisdiction vis-à-vis the HRET is inconsistent with the HRET Rules

    The view that the proclamation of the winning candidate is the operative fact that triggers the jurisdiction of the HRET is also supported by the HRET Rules.  They state:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    RULE 14. Jurisdiction. – The Tribunal is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives.

    RULE 15. How Initiated. – An election contest is initiated by the filing of a verified petition of protest or a verified petition for quo warranto against a Member of the House of Representatives. An election protest shall not include a petition for quo warranto. Neither shall a petition for quo warranto include an election protest.

    RULE 16. Election Protest.A verified petition contesting the election or returns of any Member of the House of Representatives shall be filed by any candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for the same office, within fifteen (15) days after the proclamation of the winner. The party filing the protest shall be designated as the protestant while the adverse party shall be known as the protestee. x x x

    RULE 17. Quo Warranto. – A verified petition for quo warranto contesting the election of a Member of the House of Representatives on the ground of ineligibility or of disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines shall be filed by any registered voter of the district concerned within fifteen (15) days from the date of the proclamation of the winner. The party filing the petition shall be designated as the petitioner while the adverse party shall be known as the respondent[.]

    Based on the above Rules, it appears clear that as far as the HRET is concerned, the proclamation of the winner in the congressional elections serves as the reckoning point as well as the trigger that brings any contests relating to his or her election, return and qualifications within its sole and exclusive jurisdiction.

    In the context of the present case, by holding that the Comelec retained jurisdiction (because Reyes, although a proclaimed winner, has not yet assumed office), the majority effectively emasculates the HRET of its jurisdiction as it allows the filing of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto only after the assumption to office by the candidate (i.e, on June 30 in the usual case).  To illustrate using the dates of the present case, any election protest or a petition for quo warranto filed after June 30 or more than fifteen (15) days from Reyes’ proclamation on May 18, 2013, shall certainly be dismissed outright by the HRET for having been filed out of time under the HRET rules.

    Did the Comelec gravely abuse its discretion
    when it declared its May 14, 2013 Resolution
    final and executory?


    By the petitioner’s theory, the Comelec en banc’s May 14, 2013 Resolution (cancelling Reyes’ CoC) did not attain finality because Reyes’ proclamation on May 18, 2013 divested the Comelec of its jurisdiction over matters pending before it relating to Reyes’ eligibility. Two material records are critical on this point.  First, the fact of proclamation on May 18, 2013 which came one (1) day ahead of the May 19, 2013 deadline for the finality of the May 14, 2013 Resolution pursuant to the Comelec Rules of Procedure.  The second is the COMELEC order of June 5, 2013 which declared its resolution of May 14, 2013 final and executory.

    How these instruments will co-exist and be given weight in relation with one another is a matter that, at this point and in the absence of research, deliberation, debate and discussion may not be easily be made.  The Court, to be sure, would want to hear the HRET, the COMELEC and the Office of the Solicitor General, on this point.  Of course, this hearing and debate will not take place under the hasty dismissive action the majority made.

    Did the Comelec gravely abuse its discretion
    in the appreciation and evaluation of the
    evidence leading it to erroneously conclude
    that Reyes is not a natural born Filipino
    citizen and that she had abandoned and
    lost her domicile of origin when she became
    a naturalized American citizen


    As a general rule, the Court does not ordinarily review the Comelec’s appreciation and evaluation of evidence.  However, exceptions to this rule have been established and consistently recognized, among others, when the Comelec's appreciation and evaluation of evidence are so grossly unreasonable as to turn into an error of jurisdiction.  In these instances, the Court is compelled by its bounden constitutional duty to intervene and correct the Comelec's error.19

    It is also basic in the law of evidence that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it. In administrative cases, the quantum of proof required is substantial evidence.20  In the present case, the majority obviously believed, together with the COMELEC, that Tan did overcome this burden and that his documentary evidence he submitted established that Reyes is not a Filipino citizen. A major clash between the parties exists, of course, on this point as Reyes, as expressed in her petition, is of the completely opposite view.  Even a quick look at Tan’s evidence, however, indicates that Reyes’ view is not without its merits and should not simply be dismissively set aside.

    First, Tan submitted an article published online (blog article) written by one Eli J. Obligacion (Obligacion) entitled “Seeking and Finding the Truth About Regina O. Reyes.”  This printed blog article stated that the author had obtained records from the BID stating that Reyes is an American citizen; that she is the holder of a US passport and that she has been using the same since 2005.

    How the law on evidence would characterize Obligacion's blog article or, for that matter, any similar newspaper article, is not hard for a law student answering the Bar exam to tackle: the article is double hearsay or hearsay evidence that is twice removed from being admissible as it was offered to prove its contents (that Reyes is an American citizen) without any other competent and credible evidence to corroborate them.  Separately of course from this consideration of admissibility is the question of probative value.  On top of these underlying considerations is the direct and frontal question: did the COMELEC gravely abuse its discretion when it relied on this piece of evidence to conclude that Reyes is not a Filipino citizen?

    Second, Tan also submitted a photocopy of a “certification” issued by one Simeon L. Sanchez of the BID showing the travel records of Reyes from February 15, 2000 to June 30, 2012 and that she is a holder of US Passport No. 306278853.  This photocopy also indicates in some entries that Reyes is an American while other entries denote that she is Filipino.  The same questions of admissibility and probative value of evidence arise, together with the direct query on the characterization of the COMELEC action since the COMELEC concluded on the basis of these pieces of evidence that Reyes is not a Filipino citizen because it is not only incompetent but also lacks probative value as evidence.

    Contributory to the possible answer is the ruling of this Court that a “certification” is not a certified copy and is not a document that proves that a party is not a Filipino citizen.21

    Interestingly, in its March 27, 2013 Resolution that the petitioner now also assails, the Comelec First Division ruled:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    Due to petitioner’s submission of newly-discovered evidence thru a Manifestation dated February 7, 2013, however, establishing the fact that respondent is a holder of an American passport which she continues to use until June 30, 2012, petitioner was able to substantiate his allegations.  The burden now shifts to respondent to present substantial evidence to prove otherwise.  This, the respondent utterly failed to do, leading to the conclusion inevitable that respondent falsely misrepresented in her CoC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen.  Unless and until she can establish that she had availed of the privileges of RA 9225 by becoming a dual Filipino-American citizen, and thereafter, made a valid sworn renunciation of her American citizenship, she remains to be an American citizen and is, therefore, ineligible to run for and hold any elective public office in the Philippines.22

    This ruling, undeniably, opens for Reyes the argument that in the absence of sufficient proof (i.e, other than a photocopy of a “certification”) that she is not a natural born Filipino citizen, no burden of evidence shifts to her to prove anything, particularly the fact that she is not an American citizen.  Considering that Tan might have also failed to prove by substantial evidence his allegation that Reyes is an American citizen, the burden of evidence also cannot be shifted to the latter to prove that she had availed of the privileges of RA 9225 in order to re-acquire her status as a natural born Filipino citizen.

    It ought to be considered, too, that in the absence of sufficient proof that Reyes lost her Filipino citizenship, the twin requirements under RA 9225 for re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship should not apply to her.  Of course, Reyes admitted in her MR before the Comelec that she is married to an American citizen.  This admission, however, leads only to further arguments on how her admitted marriage affected her citizenship.  Jurisprudence is not lacking on this point as in Cordora v. Comelec,23 the Court held that the twin requirements of RA 9225 does not apply to a candidate who is a natural born Filipino citizen who did not subsequently become a naturalized citizen of another country, viz.:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    We have to consider the present case in consonance with our rulings in Mercado v. Manzano Valles v. COMELEC, and AASJS v. Datumanong. Mercado and Valles involve similar operative facts as the present case.  Manzano and Valles, like Tambunting, possessed dual citizenship by the circumstances of their birth.  Manzano was born to Filipino parents in the United States which follows the doctrine of jus soli.  Valles was born to an Australian mother and a Filipino father in Australia.  Our rulings in Manzano and Valles stated that dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance both by cause and, for those desiring to run for public office, by effect.  Dual citizenship is involuntary and arises when, as a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states.  Thus, like any other natural-born Filipino, it is enough for a person with dual citizenship who seeks public office to file his certificate of candidacy and swear to the oath of allegiance contained therein.  Dual allegiance, on the other hand, is brought about by the individual’s active participation in the naturalization process.  AASJS states that, under R.A. No. 9225, a Filipino who becomes a naturalized citizen of another country is allowed to retain his Filipino citizenship by swearing to the supreme authority of the  Republic of the Philippines. The act of taking an oath of allegiance is an implicit renunciation of a naturalized citizen’s foreign citizenship.

    R.A. No. 9225, or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003, was enacted years after the promulgation of Manzano and Valles.  The oath found in Section 3 of R.A. No. 9225 reads as follows:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    I __________ , solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines; and I hereby declare that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; and that I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

    In Sections 2 and 3 of R.A. No. 9225, the framers were not concerned with dual citizenship per se, but with the status of naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their naturalization. Section 5(3) of R.A. No. 9225 states that naturalized citizens who reacquire Filipino citizenship and desire to run for elective public office in the Philippines shall “meet the qualifications for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of filing the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath” aside from the oath of allegiance prescribed in Section 3 of R.A. No. 9225.  The twin requirements of swearing to an Oath of Allegiance and executing a Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship served as the bases for our recent rulings in Jacot v. Dal and COMELEC, Velasco v. COMELEC, and Japzon v. COMELEC, all of which involve natural-born Filipinos who later became naturalized citizens of another country and thereafter ran for elective office in the Philippines. In the present case, Tambunting, a natural-born Filipino, did not subsequently become a naturalized citizen of another country. Hence, the twin requirements in R.A. No. 9225 do not apply to him.

    As to the issue of Reyes’ residency in Boac, Marinduque, the Comelec First Division as affirmed by the Comelec en banc held:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    Accordingly, the more appropriate issue is whether respondent had regained her domicile of origin in the Municipality of Boac, Marinduque after she lost the same when she became a naturalized American citizen.

    x x x x

    Thus, a Filipino citizen who becomes naturalized elsewhere effectively abandons his domicile of origin.  Upon re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA9225, he must still show that he chose to establish his domicile in the Philippines through positive acts, and the period of his residency shall be counted from the time he made it his domicile of choice.

    In this case, there is no showing that whatsoever that respondent had already re-acquired her Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 so as to conclude that she has regained her domicile in the Philippines.  There being no proof that respondent had renounced her American citizenship, it follows that she has not abandoned her domicile of choice in the USA.

    The only proof presented by respondent to show that she has met the one-year residency requirement of the law and never abandoned her domicile of origin in Boac, Marinduque is her claim that she served as Provincial Administrator of the province from January 18, 2011 to July 13, 2011.  But such fact alone is not sufficient to prove her one-year residency. For, respondent has never regained her domicile in Marinduque as she remains to be an American citizen.  No amount of her stay in the said locality can substitute the fact that she has not abandoned her domicile of choice in the USA.24

    This COMELEC action again opens questions about its appreciation and evaluation of the evidence and whether it overstepped the limits of its discretion to the point of being grossly unreasonable, if indeed the above-cited findings and conclusions have no basis in fact and in law.

    To begin with, the evidence submitted by Tan, even assuming that it is admissible, arguably does not prove that Reyes was a naturalized American citizen.  At best, the submitted evidence could only show that Reyes was the holder of a US passport.  In Aznar v. Comelec,25 the Court ruled that the mere fact that respondent Osmena was a holder of a certificate stating that he is an American did not mean that he is no longer a Filipino, and that an application for an alien certificate of registration did not amount to a renunciation of his Philippine citizenship.  In the present case, the fact that Reyes is a holder of a US passport does not portend that she is no longer a natural born Filipino citizen or that she had renounced her Philippine citizenship.  In addition, how the Comelec arrived at a conclusion that Reyes is naturalized American citizen can be seen as baffling as it did not appear to have provided any factual basis for this conclusion.

    VIII.  Conclusions

    All told, the COMELEC does not appear to have an airtight case based on substantial evidence on the citizenship and residence issues, and much less a similar case on the jurisdictional issue, to justify a VERY PROMPT OUTRIGHT DISMISSAL ACTION from this Court.  Bolstering this view is that petitioner Reyes is not lacking in arguably meritorious positions to support her cause, even if only to the extent of being fully heard by this Court.

    If this Court is indeed SERIOUS IN ADMINISTERING JUSTICE or at least to BE SEEN TO BE ADMINISTERING JUSTICE in the way described in the speeches of many a Justice of this Court, it should not deliver the kind of hasty and imprudent action that it did in this case.  The proper course of action, if the Court indeed honestly wants to achieve this objective in the present case, is to require the Comelec to COMMENT on the petition and to decide matters from that point.


    Endnotes:


    1Rollo, pp. 3-37.cralawlibrary

    2 Id. at 40-51.cralawlibrary

    3 Id. at 52-55.cralawlibrary

    4 Id. at 163-165.cralawlibrary

    5 Congressman Lord Allan Jay Velasco, son of incumbent Supreme Court Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.cralawlibrary

    6 Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Martin S. Villarama, Jr. and Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen.cralawlibrary

    7 Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno; and Justices Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro, Lucas P. Bersamin, Mariano C. del Castillo, Roberto A. Abad, Jose Portugal Perez, and Bienvenido L. Reyes.cralawlibrary

    8 Justices Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., Jose Catral Mendoza and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe.cralawlibrary

    9 Justice Diosdado M. Peralta.cralawlibrary

    10 G.R. No. 195229, October 9, 2012.cralawlibrary

    11 G.R. Nos. 193237 and 193536, October 9, 2012.cralawlibrary

    12 G.R. No. 195649, April 16, 2013.cralawlibrary

    13 G.R. No. 180088, January 19, 2009, 576 SCRA 331.cralawlibrary

    14 Section 6 of Rule 64 of the Rules of Court states:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    Section 6. Order to comment. — If the Supreme Court finds the petition sufficient in form and substance, it shall order the respondents to file their comments on the petition within ten (10) days from notice thereof; otherwise, the Court may dismiss the petition outright. The Court may also dismiss the petition if it was filed manifestly for delay or the questions raised are too unsubstantial to warrant further proceedings. (n)

    15 G.R. Nos. 178831-32, 179120, 179132-33 & 179240-41, April 1, 2009, 583 SCRA 1.cralawlibrary

    16 Id., “We do not agree. The Court has invariably held that once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the House of Representatives, the COMELEC's jurisdiction over election contests relating to his election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRET's own jurisdiction begins. It follows then that the proclamation of a winning candidate divests the COMELEC of its jurisdiction over matters pending before it at the time of the proclamation. The party questioning his qualification should now present his case in a proper proceeding before the HRET, the constitutionally mandated tribunal to hear and decide a case involving a Member of the House of Representatives with respect to the latter's election, returns and qualifications.   The use of the word “sole” in Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution and in Section 250 of the OEC underscores the exclusivity of the Electoral Tribunals' jurisdiction over election contests relating to its members.”

    x x x x

    Accordingly, after the proclamation of the winning candidate in the congressional elections, the remedy of those who may assail one’s eligibility/ineligibility/qualification/disqualification is to file before the HRET a petition for an election protest, or a petition for quo warranto, within the period provided by the HRET Rules. In Pangilinan v. Commission on Elections we ruled that where the candidate has already been proclaimed winner in the congressional elections, the remedy of petitioner is to file an electoral protest with the Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives.”

    17 G.R. Nos. 192474, 192704, 193566, June 26, 2012.cralawlibrary

    18 Id., “While the Constitution vests in the COMELEC the power to decide all questions affecting elections, such power is not without limitation. It does not extend to contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Constitution vests the resolution of these contests solely upon the appropriate Electoral Tribunal of the Senate or the House of Representatives.

    The Court has already settled the question of when the jurisdiction of the COMELEC ends and when that of the HRET begins. The proclamation of a congressional candidate following the election divests COMELEC of jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the proclaimed Representative in favor of the HRET.

    Here, when the COMELEC En Banc issued its order dated June 3, 2010, Jalosjos had already been proclaimed on May 13, 2010 as winner in the election. Thus, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction when it still passed upon the issue of his qualification and declared him ineligible for the office of Representative of the Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay.

    19Sabili v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 193261, April 24, 2012.cralawlibrary

    20Matugas v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 151944, January 20, 2004, 420 SCRA 365.cralawlibrary

    21
    See Matugas v. Commission on Elections, ibid, where the Court held:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

    “Furthermore, Section 7, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court states that when the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office, as in this case, the contents of said document may be proved by a certified copy issued by the public officer in custody thereof.  The subject letter-inquiry, which contains the notation, appears to be a mere photocopy, not a certified copy.

    The other document relied upon by petitioner is the Certification dated 1 September 2000 issued by the BID.  Petitioner submits that private respondent has declared that he is an American citizen as shown by said Certification and, under Section 26, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, such declaration may be given in evidence against him.

    The rule cited by petitioner does not apply in this case because the rule pertains to the admissibility of evidence. There is no issue here as to the admissibility of the BID Certification; the COMELEC did not hold that the same was inadmissible. In any case, the BID Certification suffers from the same defect as the notation from the supposed US Embassy official. Said Certification is also a photocopy, not a certified copy.”

    Moreover, the certification contains inconsistent entries regarding the “nationality” of private respondent.  While some entries indicate that he is “American,” other entries state that he is “Filipino.”

    22Rollo, p. 48.cralawlibrary

    23 G.R. No. 176947, 19 February 2009, 580 SCRA 12.cralawlibrary

    24Rollo, pp. 48-50.cralawlibrary

    25 G.R. No. 83820, May 25, 1990, 185 SCRA 703.

    G.R. No. 207264, June 25, 2013 - REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JOSEPH SOCORRO B. TAN, Respondents.


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