Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence

Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1909 > April 1909 Decisions > G.R. No. 4130 April 12, 1909 - REFINO BANES, ET AL. v. JACINTO CORDERO, ET AL.

013 Phil 466:



[G.R. No. 4130. April 12, 1909. ]

REFINO BANES, ET AL., Petitioners-Appellants, v. JACINTO CORDERO, ET AL., Respondents-Appellees.

Salas & Soncuya, for Appellants.

Attorney-General Araneta, for Appellees.


1. MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS; AUTHORITY OF ELECTION JUDGES UNDER MUNICIPAL CODE. — Under the provisions of the Municipal code regulating elections, in force prior to the enactment of the Election Law, the boards of election judges were empowered to determine all questions concerning the qualification or disqualification of electors, subject to approval by the respective provincial boards.

2. PLEADING AND PRACTICE; USE OF THE WRIT OF CERTIORARI. — The writ of certiorari is available to correct abuses committed in the exercise of judicial authority, when there is no appeal or other adequate remedy. In accordance with the provisions of sections 217 and 514 of the code of Civil Procedure, it is first necessary to show that the court has exceeded its authority or jurisdiction.


MAPA, J. :

The petitioners herein, residents of the municipality of Narvacan, Province of Ilocos Sur, were registered as electors qualified to vote in the municipal elections held in said municipality on December 5, 1905. The board of election judges heard the objections presented against their qualification, and decided that their names should be stricken off the list, on the ground of their names should be stricken off the list, on the ground of their having violated their oath of allegiance to the Unites States of Amecia, and hence were unable to vote at said elections. After the close of the elections, these petitioners filed a protest against the legality and validity thereof, basing their contention on the fact that they had been deprived of the right which they alleged they possessed to cast their votes at the elections. The proper certificate of said elections, together with the protests filed, were forwarded to the provincial board, and that body, by a resolution passed on December 23, 1905, approved the elections and held them to be legal, and the protest filed by these petitioners was therefore dismissed.

The petitioners thereupon appealed to the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur for a writ of certiorari against the members of the election board of Narvacan and the provincial board of Ilocos Sur, alleging that the latter exceeded their powers in dismissing the protest and in approving the elections. The court denied the remedy sought, and the petitioners have appealed from the judgment.

These events took place before the passage of the present Election Law, and should therefore be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal code (Act No. 82).

Section 9, paragraph (b), of this Act, besides providing for the preparation of a list of qualified electors by the municipal president, prescribes

"He shall further prepare and cause to be posted in a public and conspicuous place in each barrio an alphabetical list of the qualified electors residing between its limits. Each list shall be accompanied by a notice specifying a term of five days prior to the election during which any qualified elector may demand his proper enrollment as such, or the exclusion from the list of qualified electors of the name of any person not possessing the right to vote. Such demands shall be made to the president, who shall promptly refer them for settlement to a board consisting of the vice-president, the municipal treasurer, and himself. *** The questions raised before said board shall be determined before the date of the pending election, and the determinations shall be immediately communicated in writing to the person whose qualifications as an elector are in question."cralaw virtua1aw library

Paragraph (b) of section 13 of the same Act No. 82, provides

"On the day following said term of three days a duplicate of the election certificate and the objections made, if any, shall be sent by the chairman of the board of judges to the provincial board. Should the provincial board, upon investigation and after hearing of evidence, if necessary, find the election legal, they shall, within seven days after the receipt of said documents, direct the newly elected officers to qualify and enter upon their duties on the day fixed by this Act, but, if the provincial board determine that there has been an illegality committed in the election of any officer or that any candidate returned is not eligible, they shall so declare in writing, with the reasons therefor, and shall order a special election to fill the vacancies thus occasioned and shall certify their finding and order to the municipal secretary, who shall spread the same on the records of the council. In determining the legality of the election, the provincial board shall ignore irregularities or informalities which do not prevent the declared result from being the actual will of the electors."cralaw virtua1aw library

As will be seen, the first provision of the law quoted above confers upon the board of judges the power to determine questions as to the qualification or disqualification of any elector, while the last-quoted provision vests in the provincial boards power to approve or disapprove the municipal elections after hearing and determining the protests filed. Therefore, the election board of Narvacan acted within the scope of their powers in finding that the petitioners lacked the necessary qualifications to become electors and in ordering that their names be stricken off the list of qualified electors, and in like manner the provincial board of Ilocos Sur acted within their powers in approving the municipal elections of Narvacan and in dismissing the protest filed by the petitioners.

And, if the jurisdiction has not been exceeded, there is not nor could there be any legal ground for the issuance of the writ of certiorari, because these proceedings can only and exclusively be granted to remedy abuses committed in the exercise of a power or jurisdiction. Sections 217 and 514 of the Code of Civil Procedure providing for such relief, unequivocally and specifically refer to the act of exceeding or going beyond the jurisdiction; and this court has repeatedly held that, in order that certiorari may issue, it is absolutely necessary to show that the respondent has exceeded his power or jurisdiction. (In re Prautch, No. 581, 1 Phil Rep., 132; De los Reyes v. Roxas, No. 1156, 1 Phil. Rep., 625; Springer v. Odlin, No. 1372, 3 Phil. Rep., 344.)

It is unnecessary for us to discuss in this opinion the other points raised by the appellants in their brief, because they have no bearing on the main issue of this case and will in noway affect the result. Even though the respondents had been held in default, or a date previous to the hearing of the case had been assigned for the filing of their answer, or even though it was held that the facts in controversy are within the scope of a writ of mandamus, which in sum is what the appellants claim in raising these questions, there is no ground for the issuance of the writ of certiorari sought by them, inasmuch as it appears, in a manner which leaves no room for doubt, that the respondents have not exceeded the powers expressly vested in them by law.

The order appealed from is affirmed with the costs of this instance de oficio.

Arellano, C.J., Torres and Carson, JJ., concur.

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