Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1916 > December 1916 Decisions > G.R. No. 12222 December 8, 1916 - FELICIANO TAMONDONG v. JULIO LLORENTE, ET AL

035 Phil 635:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 12222. December 8, 1916. ]

FELICIANO TAMONDONG, Petitioner, v. JULIO LLORENTE, judge of first instance of Pangasinan, and MARTIN PALISOC, Respondents.

Alejo Mabanag for Petitioner.

Sison & Moran for Respondents.

SYLLABUS


1. ELECTION CONTESTS; WHO ARE CANDIDATES VOTED FOR; NOTICE. — Upon the questions of who are the candidates voted for at municipal elections and who must be voted for, Held: (1) That all persons who are voted for should, in the first instance, be considered candidates voted for; (2) that all persons voted for, as appears in the certificate of the municipal board of inspectors, must be notified, unless the protestant shows that some of such persons were not, in fact, candidates; (3) that whether a person voted for was, in fact, a candidate, is a question of fact; that when that question is presented, the protestant has a right to present proof for the purpose of showing that the persons voted for and not notified of the protest were, in fact, not candidates; (4) that if the judge hearing the protest decides that all persons voted for were candidates, refuses the protestant the right to show the contrary and dismisses the protest without giving the protestant a right to be heard, he hereby deprives the protestant of his day in court and mandamus will issue to require him to reinstate said protest and to continue to hear the same upon its merits; (5) that if, however, the judge finds upon the proof that some of the persons voted for were, in fact, candidates, but were not given notice, then he must dismiss the protest for the reason that notice to all of the candidates must be given, and that notice to all of the candidates voted for is an essential prerequisite to his jurisdiction to hear and to determine the questions presented by the protest. (Mayo v. Court of First Instance of Tayabas and Magbiray, 35 Phil. Rep., 630; Santos v. Miranda and Clemente, 35 Phil. Rep., 643).


D E C I S I O N


JOHNSON, J. :


This was an original petition presented in the Supreme Court for the writ of mandamus. The purpose of the petition was to obtain the writ of mandamus to require said judge of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Pangasinan to reinstate and to hear upon its merits a certain election protest heretofore presented in said court, which said judge dismissed upon the ground that he was without jurisdiction to hear the same. The important facts upon which the petition is based are as follows: (a) That on the 6th of June, 1916, and election was held in the municipality of Urbiztondo of the Province of Pangasinan for the purpose of electing a president and other officers of said municipality; (b) that on the 9th of June, 1916, the municipal board of inspectors declared that Martin Palisoc had been duly elected as president of said municipality; (c) that on the 20th of June, 1916, the petitioner herein (Feliciano Tamondong) presented a protest in the Court of First Instance of the Province of Pangasinan against the election of the said Martin Palisoc; (d) that on the 12th of June, 1916, the said Martin Palisoc answered said protest by denying each and all of the allegations contained therein; (e) that on the 10th of July, 1916, the question presented by the protest and answer was set down for trial on the 26th of July, 1916; that said Feliciano Tamondong, Martin Palisoc, Anastacio Austria, and Felipe Mondero, together with the attorneys for the protestant and the protestee, were duly notified of the dates set for the hearing on said protest; (f) that on the 13th of July, 1916, the attorney for the protestee appeared and moved that the hearing set for the 26th of July, 1916, be transferred to the 9th of August, 1916, which motion was granted by the lower court; (g) that on the 27th of July, 1916, the attorneys for the protestee presented a motion asking that the protest be dismissed. —

The motion alleged:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"1. That, besides the petitioner and the respondent, Messrs. Diego Rufo, Julian Ferrer, Juan Mamaril, Francisco Astudillo, Jolo Fered, Modesto Estrada, Segundo Estaris, Antonio Castro, Mateo Laforteza, and Domingo Salomon were also candidates and received votes for the office of president of the municipality of Urbiztondo.

"2. That these gentlemen have not been notified of the present protest at any time since it was filed up to the date of this motion, nor does it appear in the motion of record that all the candidates who received votes for the office in dispute, have been duly notified.

"3. That the failure to give the said notice affects the validity of the proceedings involved in the hearing of this protest, because the court would not have jurisdiction in the matter.

"4. That the motion of protest in these proceedings was presented on June 21 of the present year, and consequently the term of twenty days allowed for said notice has more than expired.

"5. That this court has no other course to pursue in this case than to dismiss the proceedings.

"Therefore, it is asked that the present protest be dismissed, with the costs against the petitioner." — (Said motion was set down for hearing on the 29th of July, 1916.) (h) that on the 9th of August, 1916, the protestant answered said motion mentioned in the preceding paragraph and alleged:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"1. That in the election held in 1915 the only candidates for the office of president of the municipality of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan, were Martin Palisoc, Feliciano Tamondong, Anastasio Austria and Felipe Mondero;

"2. That Diego Rufo, who obtained two votes for the office of president, Julian Ferrer, three votes for the same office, Modesto Estrada, one vote, Antonio Castro, one vote, and Mateo Laforteza, also one vote for the same office, were candidates for the office of vice-president of the said pueblo; that Juan Mamaril, who was elected municipal councillor and obtained one vote for the office of municipal president, Domingo Salomon, who also obtained one vote as municipal president, were candidates for the office of councillors of the municipality of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan; and that Segundo Estaris, elected a member of the provincial board, and Francisco Astudillo, were candidates for the office of member of the provincial board of Pangasinan, although each one of the provincial board of Pangasinan, although each one of these latter received one vote for the office of municipal president of Urbiztondo;

"3. That none of the gentlemen mentioned in the preceding paragraph 2 was a candidate for the office of municipal president of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan, and therefore the petitioner is not obliged to notify them of the present proceedings.

"4. That all the candidates for the office of municipal president were notified of the protest, within the period fixed by law;

"Therefore, the court is prayed to overrule the motion for dismissal;"

(i) that on the 10th of August, 1916, the respondent herein, Judge Llorente, rendered the following decision based upon said motion to dismiss and the answer thereto, dismissing said protest:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"A candidate for election to a provincial office or for the office of assemblyman must have his candidature officially announced and for this purpose must file a certificate with the provincial board. Nothing of this kind is required with respect to municipal offices, to which any person may aspire and any elector may propose or suggest any person for said offices, though the latter does not solicit it. In fact, many counsellors have not aspired to hold the offices to which they were elected.

"The court holds that all the parties who receive votes for the office of municipal president, according to the election returns presented in evidence, are candidates voted for, for the said office. Therefore, pursuant to law, they should have been notified of the protest.

"This protest is dismissed, with the costs against the petitioner. So ordered."cralaw virtua1aw library

To the petition presented in this court the respondents demurred, which demurrer, upon consideration, was overruled and the respondents answered. The cause was finally submitted to the court on the 3d of November, 1916.

From an examination of said motion to dismiss the protest and the answer thereto, in relation with the order of the court granting said motion, it will be seen that the protestant alleged that all of the candidates voted for had been notified, while the protestee alleged that certain persons had been voted for who had not been notified of the protest. The protestant alleged that the persons voted for who had not been notified were not candidates, and therefore he was not required to notify them. The respondent judge decided that all persons voted for were candidates and should be notified, he was without jurisdiction to hear the protest and dismissed it.

Upon the question as to who are candidates voted for at a municipal election, we are of the opinion: (1) That all persons who are voted for should in the first instance be considered candidates voted for; (2) that all persons voted for, as appears in the certificate of the municipal board of inspectors, must be notified unless the protestant shows that some of such persons were not, in fact, candidates; (3) that whether a person voted for was, in fact, a candidate is a question of fact; that when that question is presented, the protestant has a right to present proof for the purpose of showing that the persons voted for and not notified of the protest were, in fact, not candidates; (4) that if the judge hearing the protest decides that all persons voted for were candidates, refuses the protestant the right to show the contrary and dismisses the protest without giving the protestant a right to be heard, he thereby deprives the protestant of his day in court and mandamus will issue to require him to reinstate said protest and to continue to hear the same upon its merits; (5) that if, however, the judge finds upon the proof that some of the persons voted for were, in fact, candidates but were not given notice then he must dismiss the protest, for the reason that notice to all of the candidates must be given, and that notice to all of the candidates voted for is an essential prerequisite to his jurisdiction to hear and determine the questions presented by the protest. (Mayo v. Court of First Instance of Tayabas and Magbiray, ante; Santos v. Miranda and Clemente, post.)

In the case of Mayo v. Court of First Instance of Tayabas and Magbiray, ante, and in the case of Santos v. Miranda and Clemente, post, this court said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"In view of the fact that the municipal board of inspectors are required to make a certificate showing the names of ’all the persons voted for,’ . . . we are of the opinion that in the first instance, all the ’persons who receive votes’ for a particular office, and who were eligible for election to said office, and whose names appear in said certificate, must be considered for the purpose of any protest, as ’candidates voted for,’ until the contrary is shown. That being true, they should, of course, be notified. If, however, the protestant should fail to notify any of said persons, . . . the court should hear proof upon the question whether said persons were or were not ’candidates voted for,’ and decide whether or not, in fact, such persons were candidates. . . .

". . . it will be presumed that all of the persons voted for, as appears from the certificate of the municipal board of inspectors, were ’candidates voted for,’ until the contrary is shown, and must be given notice of the protest. That presumption, however, is a rebuttable one. When the question is properly presented to the court whether or not such persons voted for were or were not, in fact, ’candidates voted for,’ it is the duty of the court to hear proof upon that question.

"The question of who were, in fact, candidates voted for is one of fact and the lower court, when the question is presented, should hear proof and decide it. He should not act upon the rebuttable presumption that all of the persons voted for, as indicated by the certificate of the municipal board of inspectors, were, in fact, candidates voted for, when the proof presented during the hearing upon that question shows that all of the persons voted for were not, in fact, candidates. He should not deprive the protestant of his day in court, without giving him an opportunity to show that he had, in fact, notified all of the candidates voted for. If the protestant knows, as a matter of fact, that the persons voted for as appears in the certificate of the municipal board of inspectors, were not candidates and is prepared to prove that fact, there is no reason for requiring him to go through the empty formula of giving them notice. The protestant in such a case assumes the responsibility of his failure to give the notice required by law, and if he fails to give notice to a particular candidate voted for, he must fail utterly, because the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the protest until all of the candidates voted for have been given notice."cralaw virtua1aw library

It frequently happens, as has been seen from the many election contests which have been presented to the courts, that some persons have been voted for who were not residents of the municipality; that they were not eligible to the office for which they had been voted for; that they were fictitious persons or were, in fact, dead. An interpretation of the law that would require the protestant to show that he had notified all such persons before he could have a day in court, when he stands ready to prove that such persons, even though voted for, were not in fact candidates, is an interpretation which is repugnant to all sense of justice and fairness. The legislature, in our opinion, never intended to give the law such a meaning. When a court erroneously dismisses an action upon a preliminary objection and upon an erroneous construction of the law, mandamus is the proper remedy to compel it to reinstate the cause and to proceed to hear it upon its merits. (De Castro v. Salas and Santiago, 34 Phil. Rep., 818; Grecia v. Salas, 34 Phil. Rep., 948; Mayo v. Court of First Instance of Tayabas and Magbiray, ante, p. 630; Santos v. Miranda and Clemente, post, p. 643; Galang v. Miranda and De Leon, ante, p. 269.)

For all of the foregoing reasons we are of the opinion that the facts contained in the record are sufficient to justify the granting of the remedy prayed for. Therefore, it is hereby ordered and decreed that an order be issued out of this court to the respondent judge, directing and requiring him to set aside and annul his order heretofore made, in which he dismissed the protest of the petitioner, and to reinstate said protest and to proceed to try said cause upon its merits. Without any finding as to costs, it is ordered.

Torres, Carson, Trent, and Araullo, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions


MORELAND, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

I dissent, and refer to and make a part hereof my dissenting opinion in the case of Santos v. Miranda and Clemente, post, p. 643.

I do not discuss whether mandamus should issue in this case, even conceding the correctness of the decision of the court in this case. I base my dissent on the ground that the Court of First Instance was right in dismissing the protest for failure to make parties and to notify all of the persons who, according to the proclamation of the municipal board of canvassers, received notes for the office contested.




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