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[G.R. No. 147589.December 17, 2002]

ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY vs. COMELEC, et al.

EN BANC

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated 17 DEC 2002.

            G.R. No. 147589(Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party (under the Acronym OFW), represented herein by its Secretary General, Mohamad Omar Fajardo vs. Commission on Elections, et al.)

            G.R. No. 147613(Bayan Muna vs. Commission on Elections, et al.)

            Prior to the holding of the May 14, 2001 elections, the Court issued on May 9, 2001 a Resolution in which it "DIRECTED [Comelec] to refrain from proclaiming any winner" in the party-list elections until further orders.In its June 26, 2001 Decision, the Court remanded the case to Comelec with the limited authority "to immediately conduct summary evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the party-list participants in the light of the [eight] guidelines enunciated in this Decision."Comelec, after submitting two (2) partial and one (1) final Compliance Reports[1]cralaw to this Court, manifested that it fully complied with "Court's directive of June 26, 2001."

            This notwithstanding, the poll body - without the knowledge and prior approval of this Court - promulgated Resolution No. NBC-02-001 on November 6, 2002, in which Comelec "grant[ed]:

"APEC - three (3) seats:one (1) qualifying and two (2) additional seats;

"AKBAYAN - two (2) seats:one (1) qualifying and one (1) additional seat;

"BUTIL - two (2) seats:one (1) qualifying and one (1) additional seat;

"CIBAC - two (2) seats:one (1) qualifying and one (1) additional seat;

"BUHAY - two (2) seats:one (1) qualifying and one (1) additional seat;

"AMIN - [o]ne (1) qualifying seat only[;]

"ABA - [o]ne (1) qualifying seat only[;]

"COCOFED - [o]ne (1) qualifying seat only[;]

"NCIA - [o]ne (1) qualifying seat only[;]

"PM - [o]ne (1) qualifying seat only[;]

"SANLAKAS - [o]ne (1) qualifying seat only."

            It based such grant on the votes allegedly garnered by the aforesaid party-list participants, as follows:

RANK

PARTY-LIST

Votes

PERCENTAGE

1

BAYAN-MUNA

1,708,253

24.95

2

APEC

802,060

11.71

3

AKBAYAN

377,852

5.52

4

BUTIL

330,282

4.82

5

CIBAC

323,810

4.73

6

BUHAY

290,760

4.25

7

AMIN

252,051

3.68

8

ABA

242,199

3.54

9

COCOFED

229,165

3.35

10

NCIA

223,996

3.27

11

PM

216,823

3.17

12

SANLAKAS

151,017

2.21

            This prompted APEC, AKBAYAN, BUTIL and CIBAC to file a "Joint Motion for Early Resolution" before Comelec.

            Acting on this Joint Motion, Comelec issued, motu proprio and again without prior consultation or approval of this Court, an Order dated November 22, 2002, granting the said Joint Motion and ordered the immediate proclamation of additional nominees of APEC, BUTIL, CIBAC and AKBAYAN.Pursuant to such Order, the Commission - acting as the National Board of Canvassers - promulgated on November 26, 2002 Resolution No. NBC No. 02-002 which proclaimed the following nominees as winners in the May 14, 2001 party-list elections:

APEC:

1.Edgar L. Valdez

2.Sunny Rose A. Madamba

BUTIL:

1.Leonila Chavez

CIBAC:

1.Ma. Blanca Kim Bernardo-Lokin

AKBAYAN:

1.Mario J. Aguja

            The Commission issued the Resolution despite the aforesaid TRO, Decision and October 8, 2002 Resolution of this Court wherein the latter had already WARNED the Comelec that its flip-flopping was inexcusable and constituted discourtesy and disobedience to this Court.This Resolution said in part:

"x x x, after submitting its Compliance Reports as required by our June 26, 2001 Decision, the Comelec had no more jurisdiction to conduct on its own volition any more hearings for the purpose of again passing upon the matter remanded to it by this Court.Much less did it have authority to 'decree' the qualifications of the four movants after they had been disqualified by a formal Resolution of this Court upon the recommendation of the poll body itself.The Comelec did not even have the courtesy of notifying this Court that it was conducting further evaluation of the matter.Such indiscretion borders on contempt of this Court.It is elementary that 'a lower court [or quasi judicial agency like Comelec] cannot reexamine and reverse a decision of the Supreme Court.

"We repeat that our June 26, 2001 Decision has 'already become final and may no longer be altered.'The case was remanded to the Comelec with the limited direction to immediately conduct summary proceedings on the qualifications of the 154 parties and organizations in the light of the 8-point guidelines we had set forth.After submitting its x x x Compliance Reports x x x, it no longer had any authority to entertain the Motions filed by the aforesaid political parties.Decidedly, its power during the remand was limited and its delegated mandate expired upon the submission to and acceptance by this Court of the said Reports.'When a lower court, or a quasi-judicial agency like the Commission on Elections, violates or ignores the Constitution or the law, its action can be struck down by this Court on the ground of grave abuse of discretion.''Indeed, the function of all judicial and quasi-judicial instrumentalities is to apply the law as they find it, not to reinvent or second-guess it."

WHEREFORE, Comelec, as well as its chairman and members, are ORDERED to SHOW CAUSE within 10 days from receipt of this Resolution why:(1) they should not be held in contempt for issuing Comelec Resolution No. NBC-02-001 dated November 6, 2002, Comelec Order dated November 22, 2002, and Comelec Resolution No. NBC No. 02-002 dated November 26, 2002 which enabled the above-stated nominees to be proclaimed winners in the May 14, 2001 party-list elections in contravention of this Court's standing orders, especially the May 9, 2001 TRO which "DIRECTED [Comelec] to refrain from proclaiming any winner" in the party-list elections without the express authority of this Court; and, (2) to explain why they cavalierly disregarded the formula for computing the winners among the qualified party-list participants, which the Court painstakingly devised in Veterans Federation Party v. COMELEC, GR No. 136781, October 6, 2000), again without the express authority and approval of this Court.

The Court further Resolved to:

(a)               DENY WITH FINALITY the Motion for Reconsideration of the resolution of 12 November 2002, dated 5 December 2002 filed by respondent AKLAT, there being no substantial arguments presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned resolution;

(b)               NOTE the Comment dated 9 December 2002 filed by counsel for SANLAKAS and PM, praying that the pending motion to lift TRO be granted;

(c)               NOTE the Manifestation dated 25 November 2002 filed by counsel for petitioner Bayan Muna pursuant to the 19 November 2002 resolution, stating that it is adopting its comment/opposition to the motion to lift TRO of COCOFED and BUHAY as its comment/opposition to the motion to lift TRO of SANLAKAS and PM;

(d)               GRANT the Motion for Leave of Court to Admit and Consider Supplemental Motion to Set Aside COMELEC Resolution No. NBC 02-001 promulgated on 22 November 2002, filed by counsel for petitioner BAYAN MUNA;

(e)               NOTE aforesaid Supplemental Motion to Set Aside COMELEC Resolution No. NBC 02-001, dated 11 December 2002;

(f)                 GRANT the Motion dated 9 December 2002 filed by the Office of the Solicitor General for respondents for an extension of five (5) days from the original period or until 14 December 2002 within which to file comment;

(g)               GRANT the Motion to Admit Comment on the comment/opposition of BAYAN MUNA, dated 11 December 2002 filed by counsel for BUHAY;

(h)               NOTE aforesaid Comment dated 8 December 2002 filed in compliance with the resolution of 3 December 2002;

(i)                 NOTE the Reply to the comment/opposition of BAYAN MUNA, dated 8 December 2002 filed by counsel for movant NCIA; and

(j)                  NOTE, TREAT as a second motion for reconsideration and DENY for being a prohibited pleading, the Letter dated 11 December 2002 of B/Gen. Ernesto Gidaya (ret.), President of the Veterans Federation Party.

Very truly yours,

LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO

Clerk of Court

(Sgd.) MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA

Asst. Clerk of Court



Endnotes:

[1]cralaw Dated July 27, 2001, August 22, 2001, and September 27, 2001, respectively.


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