Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1963 > October 1963 Decisions > G.R. No. L-16452 October 31, 1963 - GAUDIOSO M. TIONGCO v. CARMELO L. PORRAS:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-16452. October 31, 1963.]

GAUDIOSO M. TIONGCO, Protestant-Appellant, v. CARMELO L. PORRAS, Protestee-Appellee.

Pichon, Artes & Vega for Protestant-Appellant.

Ruiz, Ruiz, Ruiz & Ruiz for Protestee-Appellee.


SYLLABUS


1. ELECTION CONTESTS; COSTS; COMMISSIONERS’ FEES AND BOND PREMIUM PAID BY PROTESTEE. — The award as costs to the protestee-appellee of the fees paid to the revision commissioners and the premium paid on the bond posted by protestee in connection with his counter protest is held to be in accordance with Section 180 of the Revised Election Code.


D E C I S I O N


DIZON, J.:


Gaudioso M. Tiongco and Carmelo L. Porras were both candidates for the office of Mayor of Davao City in the November 1955 elections. On the 21st of said month, the Davao City Board of Canvassers proclaimed Porras as Mayor-Elect, having received 15,462 votes as against 13,398 votes for Tiongco. In due time, Tiongco filed an election protest against Porras with the Court of First Instance of Davao (Case No. 79), alleging that fraud, irregularities, terrorism and other illegal acts were committed in approximately 200 precincts. Porras filed his answer denying protestant’s material allegations, with a counter claim for damages and attorney’s fees, and a counter- protest alleging irregularities and anomalies in the appreciation of ballots in 41 precincts. Protestant filed a bond in the amount of P10,000.00 to answer for all expenses and costs incidental to his protest, while protestee was required to file a bond in the amount of P2,000.00 for the same purpose in connection with his counter-protest.

To facilitate the examination and recounting of ballots in the protested precincts, the court appointed eight teams of commissioners, each composed of three: one for the protestant, one for the protestee and one for the court, with a compensation of P5.00 per ballot box for each commissioner representing the protestant, and P10.00 for each of the commissioners representing the court and the protestee. With regards to the counter-protested ballot boxes, all the commissioner received from protestee the amount of P10.00 per precinct, or the total sum of P1,230.00 for the 41 contested precincts.

After a delay of more than two years in the trial of the case due to numerous motions for postponements filed by the protestant, the court, on April 15, 1958, issued the following order:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"WHEREFORE, the Court finding the opposition to the motion for transfer well taken, hereby orders the dismissal of the above-entitled case, as well as the counter-protest, with costs against the protestant. Upon petition of counsel for the protestee, the request of the protestee to file a separate civil suit for damages against the protestant is hereby granted."cralaw virtua1aw library

On June 18, 1958, the protestee filed a bill of costs and expenses with the Clerk of Court, as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

1. For the answer P 8.00

2. For the attendance

of attorney 10.00

3. For the attendance of 10

witnesses for 25 days of

trial at the rate of P1.00

each witness a day 250.00

4. For the payment of premium

of bond of P2,000 filed by

the protestee at the rate of

P60.00 a year for three years 180.00

5. For commissioner’s fees paid

by the protestee as per Order

dated May 12, 1957 1,230.00

Total P1,678.00

Despite protestant’s opposition thereto, the Clerk of Court approved the aforesaid bill. This was affirmed by the court in its order dated February 13, 1959, the present being an appeal therefrom.

Appellant contends that there is no law or rule of court authorizing the award as costs of the amount of P1,230.00 paid to the commissioners and of the amount of P180.00 paid as premium on the bond posted by protestee in connection with his counter protest. This contention is without merit. Section 180 of the Revised Election Code provides that before a competent court may take cognizance of an election protest, the protestant shall file a bond, with two sufficient sureties and for such amount as the Court may fix, to answer for the payment of all expenses and costs incidental to the protest. Undoubtedly, the fees paid to the commissioners who revised the ballots cast in the precincts protested by appellant is an expense incidental to his protest. The allegations made in his pleading made inevitable the opening of the ballot boxes of the contested precincts and the revision of their contents by the commissioners appointed for the purpose. Under the law and the order of dismissal quoted heretofore, his liability therefore appears clear.

With respect to the fees of the commissioners who revised the ballots of the precincts covered by appellee’s counter-protest, we likewise believe that appellant is liable. The counter-protest was forced upon appellee by appellant’s protest. Had the latter not filed any protest, there would have been no counter-protest. The latter, in fact, must be viewed only as a defense against the protest. Consequently, the expenses incurred in connection therewith arouse from and may be deemed to be mere incident of appellant’s protest.

WHEREFORE, finding the order appealed from to be in accordance with law, the same is hereby affirmed, with costs.

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.




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