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LONZANIDA versus COMELEC (G.R. No.

135150)

Facts:
Petitioner Romeo Lonzanida duly elected and served two consecutive terms as municipal mayor ofSan Antonio,
Zambales prior to the May 8 1995 elections where he ran for the mayoralty position ofSan Antonio, Zambales and
was again proclaimed the winner. He then assumed office and discharged said duties therof. His proclamation in the
year 1995 was however contested by his then opponent Juan Alvez who later on filed an election protest.

In the year 1997, the RTC of Zambales declared a failure of elections. After a revision and re-appreciation of the
contested ballot, COMELEC declared Alvarez the duly elected mayor of San Antonio, Zambales and ordered
petitioner to vacate the post.

On the 11
th
of May in the year 1998 elections again, Lonzanida ran for mayor wherein his contender Eufemio Muli
filed a petition to disqualify the former from running for mayor of San Antonio in the 1998 elections on the ground that
he had served three consecutive terms in the same post.

Lonzanidas assumption of office by virtue of his proclamation in May 1995, although he was later unseated before
the expiration of the term, should be counted as service for one full term in computing the three term limit under the
Constitution and the Local Government Code.

Issue:
Whether or not tit may be considered that the petitioner had served three consecutive terms, granting that he did not
finish his term in 1995.

Held:
NO. By reason of his involuntary relinquishment of office, petitioner did not fully serve the 1995 to 1998 mayoral term
and became a private citizen. The said disqualification was primarily intended to forestall the accumulation of massive
political power by an elective local government official in a given locality in order to perpetuate his tenure in office.
The court set two conditions which must concur in order to disqualify an elective local official from serving more than
three consecutive terms such as that 1.) the official concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the
same local government post and that 2.) he has fully served three consecutive terms.

QUINTO versus COMELEC (G.R. No. 189698)

Facts:
Petitioners Eleazar P. Quinto and Gerino A. Tolentino, Jr. filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the
COMELEC for issuing a resolution declaring appointive officials who filed their certificate of candidacy as ipso
facto resigned from their government offices because at such time they are not yet treated by the law as candidates.
They should be considered resigned from their respective offices only at the start of the campaign period when they
are, by law, already considered candidates.

In this defense, the COMELEC avers that it only copied the provision from Sec. 13 of R.A. 9369.

Issue:
Whether or not the said COMELEC resolution was valid.

Held:
NO. In the Farias case, the petitioners challenged Sec. 14 of RA. 9006 repealing Sec. 66 of the Omnibus Election
Code (OEC) for giving undue benefit to elective officials in comparison with appointive officials. Incidentally, the Court
upheld the substantial distinctions between the two and pronounced that there was no violation of the equal
protection clause. However in the present case, the Court held that the discussion on the equal protection clause was
an obiter dictum since the issue raised therein was against the repealing clause. It didnt squarely challenge Sec. 66.

Sec. 13 of RA. 9369 unduly discriminated appointive and elective officials. Applying the 4 requisites of a valid
classification, the proviso does not comply with the second requirement that it must be germane to the purpose of
the law.
The obvious reason for the challenged provision is to prevent the use of a governmental position to promote ones
candidacy, or even to wield a dangerous or coercive influence of the electorate. The measure is further aimed at
promoting the efficiency, integrity, and discipline of the public service by eliminating the danger that the discharge of
official duty would be motivated by political considerations rather than the welfare of the public. The restriction is also
justified by the proposition that the entry of civil servants to the electorate arena, while still in office, could result in
neglect or inefficiency in the performance of duty because they would be attending to their campaign rather than to
their office work.

BORJA versus COMELEC

Facts:
Private respondent Jose T. Carpo, Jr. was elected vice-mayor of Pateros on January 18, 1988 for a term ending June
30, 1992. On September 2, 1989, he became mayor, by operation of law, upon the death of the incumbent, Cesar
Borja. For the next two succeeding elections in 1992 and 1995, he was again re-elected as Mayor.
On March 27, 1998, private respondent Carpo filed a certificate of candidacy for mayor of Pateros relative to the May
11, 1998 elections. Petitioner Benjamin U. Borja, Jr., who was also a candidate for mayor, sought Carpos
disqualification on the theory that the latter would have already served as mayor for three consecutive terms by June
30, 1998 and would therefore be ineligible to serve for another term after that.
COMELEC ruled in favor of petitioner and declared private respondent Carpo saying that In both the Constitution
and the Local Government Code, the three-term limitation refers to the term of office for which the local official was
elected. It made no reference to succession to an office to which he was not elected. Carpo won the election case
against Borja. Hence, this petition.
Issue:
Whether or not a person who served in a position by operation of law could be considered as having served the term
for the purpose of the three-term limit under the Constitution.

Held:
NO. The court held that when Carpo occupied the post of the Mayor upon the incumbents death and served for
remainder of the term, he cannot be construed as having served a full term as contemplated under the three term
limit. The term he served must be one for which he was elected. Furthermore, before assuming the position of Mayor,
he served first as a Vice Mayor and the duties and responsibilities of the two positions are wholly different from each
other.

FRIVALDO VS. COMELEC (1996)
G.R. No. 120295, June 28 1996, 257 SCRA 727

FACTS:
Juan G. Frivaldo ran for Governor of Sorsogon again and won. Raul R. Lee questioned
his citizenship. He then petitioned for repatriation under Presidential Decree No. 725 and
was able to take his oath ofallegiance as a Philippine citizen.

However, on the day that he got his citizenship, the Court had already ruled based on his
previous attempts to run as governor and acquire citizenship, and had proclaimed Lee,
who got the second highest number of votes, as the newly elect Governor of Sorsogon.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Frivaldos repatriation was valid.

HELD:
The Court ruled his repatriation was valid and legal and because of the curative nature of
Presidential Decree No. 725, his repatriation retroacted to the date of the filing of his
application to run forgovernor. The steps to reacquire Philippine Citizenship by
repatriation under Presidential Decree No. 725 are: (1) filing the application; (2) action
by the committee; and (3) taking of the oath of allegiance if the application is approved.
It is only upon taking the oath of allegiance that the applicant is deemed ipso jure to
have reacquired Philippine citizenship. If the decree had intended the oath taking to
retroact to the date of the filing of the application, then it should not have explicitly
provided otherwise. He is therefore qualified to be proclaimed governor of Sorsogon.
Read full text

Frivaldo vs Comelec Digest with additional
info
G.R. No. 120295. June 28, 1996]
JUAN G. FRIVALDO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and RAUL R. LEE,
respondents.
[G.R. No. 123755. June 28, 1996]
RAUL R. LEE, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN G. FRIVALDO,
respondents.
On March 20, 1995, private respondent Juan G. Frivaldo filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the
office of Governor of Sorsogon in the May 8, 1995 elections. On March 23, 1995, petitioner Raul R.
Lee, another candidate, filed a petition with the Comelec praying that Frivaldo "be disqualified from
seeking or holding any public office or position by reason of not yet being a citizen of the
Philippines," and that his Certificate of Candidacy be cancelled. On May 1, 1995, the Second Division
of the Comelec promulgated a Resolution granting the petition.
The Motion for Reconsideration filed by Frivaldo remained unacted upon until after the May 8, 1995
elections. So, his candidacy continued and he was voted for during the elections held on said date.
On May 11, 1995, the Comelec en banc affirmed the aforementioned Resolution of the Second
Division.
The Provincial Board of Canvassers completed the canvass of the election returns and a Certificate of
Votes was issued showing the following votes obtained by the candidates for the position of Governor
of Sorsogon:
Antonio H. Escudero, Jr. 51,060
Juan G. Frivaldo 73,440
RaulR.Lee 53,304
Isagani P. Ocampo 1,925
On June 9, 1995, Lee filed a (supplemental) petition praying for his proclamation as the duly-elected
Governor of Sorsogon.
In an orderdated June 21, 1995, but promulgated according to the petition "only on June 29, 1995,"
the Comelec en bane directed "the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Sorsogon to reconvene for the
purpose of proclaiming candidate Raul Lee as the winning gubernatorial candidate in the province of
Sorsogon on June 29,1995 x x x." Accordingly, at 8:30 in the evening of June 30,1995, Lee was
proclaimed governor of Sorsogon.
Frivaldo filed with the Comelec a new petition praying for the annulment of the June 30, 1995
proclamation of Lee and for his own proclamation. He alleged that on June 30, 1995, at 2:00 in the
afternoon, he took his oath of allegiance as a citizen of the Philippines after "his petition for
repatriation under P.D. 725 which he filed with the Special Committee on Naturalization in
September 1994 had been granted." As such, when "the said order (dated June 21, 1995) (of the
Comelec) x x x was released and received by Frivaldo on June 30, 1995 at 5:30 o'clock in the evening,
there was no more legal impediment to the proclamation (of Frivaldo) as governor x x x." In the
alternative, he averred that pursuant to the two cases of Labo vs. Comelec, the Vice-Governor not
Lee should occupy said position of governor.
On December 19, 1995, the Comelec First Division promulgated the herein assailed Resolution
holding that Lee, "not having garnered the highest number of votes," was not legally entitled to be
proclaimed as duly-elected governor; and that Frivaldo, "having garnered the highest number of
votes, and having reacquired his Filipino citizenship by repatriation on June 30, 1995 under the
provisions of Presidential Decree No. 725 is qualified to hold the office of governor of Sorsogon".
Issues: 1. Is Frivaldo's "judicially declared" disqualification for lack of Filipino citizenship a
continuing bar to his eligibility to run for, be elected to or hold the governorship of Sorsogon NO!
2. Was the proclamation of Lee, a runner-up in the election, valid and legal in light of existing
jurisprudence? -NO!
Held:
1.)
It should be noted that our first ruling in G.R. No. 87193 disqualifying Frivaldo was rendered in
connection with the 1988 elections while that in G.R. No. 104654 was in connection with the 1992
elections. That he was disqualified for such elections is final and can no longer be changed.
Indeed, decisions declaring the acquisition or denial of citizenship cannot govern a
person's future status with finality. This is because a person may subsequently
reacquire, or for that matter lose, his citizenship under any of the modes recognized
by law for the purpose.
"Everytime the citizenship of a person is material or indispensable in a judicial or administrative
case, whatever the corresponding court or administrative authority decides therein as to such
citizenship is generally not considered res judicata, hence it has to be threshed out again and again,
as the occasion demands."
2.) Frivaldo assails the validity of the Lee proclamation. We uphold him for the following reasons:
First. To paraphrase this Court in Labo vs. COMELEC, "the fact remains that he (Lee) was not the
choice of the sovereign will," and in Aquino vs. COMELEC, Lee is "a second placer, just that,
a second placer."
"The rule, therefore, is: the ineligibility of a candidate receiving majority votes does not
entitle the eligible candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be declared
elected. A minority or defeated candidate cannot be deemed elected to the office."
Second. As we have earlier declared Frivaldo to have seasonably re-acquired his citizenship
and inasmuch as he obtained the highest number of votes in the 1995 elections, he
not Lee should be proclaimed. Hence, Lee's proclamation was patently erroneous and should
now be corrected.
==========================================================
CONCLUSION OF THE COURT
In sum, we rule that the citizenship requirement in the Local Government Code is to be
possessed by an elective official at the latest as of the time he is proclaimed and at the
start of the term of office to which he has been elected. We further hold P.D. No. 725 to be in
full force and effect up to the present, not having been suspended or repealed expressly nor impliedly
at any time, and Frivaldo's repatriation by virtue thereof to have been properly granted and thus
valid and effective. Moreover, by reason of the remedial or curative nature of the law granting him a
new right to resume his political status and the legislative intent behind it, as well as his unique
situation of having been forced to give up his citizenship and political aspiration as his means of
escaping a regime he abhorred, his repatriation is to be given retroactive effect as of the date of his
application therefor, during the pendency of which he was stateless, he having given ' up his U. S.
nationality.
Thus, in contemplation of law, he possessed the vital requirement of Filipino citizenship as
of the start of the term of office of governor, and should have been proclaimed instead
of Lee. Furthermore, since his reacquisition of citizenship retroacted to August 17,
1994, his registration as a voter of Sorsogon is deemed to have been validated as of
said date as well. The foregoing, of course, are precisely consistent with our holding that lack of
the citizenship requirement is not a continuing disability or disqualification to run for
and hold public office. And once again, we emphasize herein our previous rulings recognizing the
Comelec's authority and jurisdiction to hear and decide petitions for annulment of proclamations.
This Court has time and again liberally and equitably construed the electoral laws of
our country to give fullest effect to the manifest will of our people, for in case of doubt,
political laws must be interpreted to give life and spirit to the popular mandate freely
expressed through the ballot. Otherwise stated, legal niceties and technicalities cannot
stand in the way of the sovereign will. Consistently, we have held:
"x x x (L)aws governing election contests must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the
people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere technical objections (citations
omitted)."
The law and the courts must accord Frivaldo every possible protection, defense and refuge, in
deference to the popular will. Indeed, this Court has repeatedly stressed the importance of giving
effect to the sovereign will in order to ensure the survival of our democracy. In any
action involving the possibility of a reversal of the popular electoral choice, this Court
must exert utmost effort to resolve the issues in a manner that would give effect to the
will of the majority, for it is merely sound public policy to cause elective offices to be
filled by those who are the choice of the majority. To successfully challenge a winning
candidate's qualifications, the petitioner must clearly demonstrate that the ineligibility is so patently
antagonistic to constitutional and legal principles that overriding such ineligibility and thereby
giving effect to the apparent will of the people, would ultimately create greater prejudice to the very
democratic institutions and juristic traditions that our Constitution and laws so zealously protect and
promote. In this undertaking, Lee has miserably failed.
In Frivaldo's case, it would have been technically easy to find fault with his cause. The Court could
have refused to grant retroactivity to the effects of his repatriation and hold him still
ineligible due to his failure to show his citizenship at the time he registered as a voter
before the 1995 elections. Or, it could have disputed the factual findings of the Comelec
that he was stateless at the time of repatriation and thus hold his consequent dual
citizenship as a disqualification "from running for any elective local position." But the
real essence of justice does not emanate from quibblings over patchwork legal
technicality. It proceeds from the spirit's gut consciousness of the dynamic role of law
as a brick in the ultimate development of the social edifice. Thus, the Court struggled
against and eschewed the easy, legalistic, technical and sometimes harsh anachronisms of the law in
order to evoke substantial justice in the larger social context consistent with Frivaldo's unique
situation approximating venerability in Philippine political life. Concededly, he sought American
citizenship only to escape the clutches of the dictatorship. At this stage, we cannot
seriously entertain any doubt about his loyalty and dedication to this country. At the
first opportunity, he returned to this land, and sought to serve his people once more.
The people of Sorsogon overwhelmingly voted for him three times. He took an oath of
allegiance to this Republic every time he filed his certificate of candidacy and during
his failed naturalization bid. And let it not be overlooked, his demonstrated tenacity and sheer
determination to re-assume his nationality of birth despite several legal set-backs speak
more loudly, in spirit, in fact and in truth than any legal technicality, of his consuming
intention and burning desire to re-embrace his native Philippines even now at the ripe
old age of 81 years. Such loyalty to and love of country as well as nobility of purpose cannot be lost
on this Court of justice and equity. Mortals of lesser mettle would have given up. After all, Frivaldo
was assured of a life of ease and plenty as a citizen of the most powerful country in the world. But he
opted, nay, single-mindedly insisted on returning to and serving once more his struggling but
beloved land of birth. He therefore deserves every liberal interpretation of the law which
can be applied in his favor. And in the final analysis, over and above Frivaldo himself,
the indomitable people of Sorsogon most certainly deserve to be governed by a leader
of their overwhelming choice.

[G.R. No. 163756. January 26, 2005]
GEORGIDI B. AGGABAO, petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, the PROVINCIAL BOARD of CANVASSERS of
ISABELA, and ANTHONY MIRANDA, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J .:
This Petition for Certiorari
[1]
seeks to annul and set aside as having been
issued with grave abuse of discretion Resolution No. 7233 of the COMELEC
En Banc and the proclamation of private respondent Anthony Miranda as
Congressman for the 4
th
District of Isabela.
[2]

Petitioner Georgidi B. Aggabao and private respondent Anthony Miranda
were rival congressional candidates for the 4
th
District of Isabela during the
May 10, 2004 elections. During the canvassing of the certificates of canvass
of votes (COCV) for the municipalities of Cordon and San Agustin, Miranda
moved for the exclusion of the 1
st
copy of the COCV on grounds that it was
tampered with; prepared under duress; differed from other authentic copies
and contained manifest errors.
[3]

Aggabao objected arguing that the grounds raised by Miranda are proper
only for a pre-proclamation controversy which is not allowed in elections for
Members of the House of Representatives.
[4]

On May 22, 2004, the reconstituted Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBC)
excluded from canvass the contested COCVs and used instead the 4
th
and
7
th
copies of the COCVs.
[5]
Based on the results, Miranda garnered the
highest number of votes for the position of Congressman.
On appeal with the COMELEC,
[6]
petitioner asserted that the PBC acted
without jurisdiction
[7]
when it heard Mirandas Petition for Exclusion. Even
assuming that the PBC had jurisdiction over the petition, it still erred in
excluding the contested COCVs as they appeared regular and properly
authenticated.
[8]

On June 6, 2004, private respondent filed a Very Urgent Motion for
Proclamation
[9]
which was opposed
[10]
by petitioner who contended that the
pendency of his appeal with the COMELEC Second Division is a bar to
Mirandas proclamation.
In a Memorandum dated June 8, 2004, Commissioner Mehol K. Sadain,
commissioner in-charge for Regions II and III, approved the proclamation of
the remaining winning candidates for the province of Isabela.
[11]

On June 9, 2004, the COMELEC En Banc issued Resolution No. 7233
likewise directing the proclamation of the remaining winning candidates in
Isabela.
[12]
On the same day, petitioner filed with the COMELEC an Urgent
Motion to Set Aside the Notice of Proclamation with Prayer for the Issuance of
a Temporary Restraining Order.
[13]

On June 14, 2004, Miranda was proclaimed as the duly elected
Congressman for the 4
th
District of Isabela.
[14]

Two days after the proclamation, Aggabao filed this petition assailing
Resolution No. 7233. He claimed that the COMELEC En Banc acted without
jurisdiction when it ordered Mirandas proclamation considering that the
Second Division has not yet resolved the appeal.
In his Comment,
[15]
Miranda moved for the dismissal of the petition
considering that the issue raised by Aggabao is best addressed to the House
of Representatives Electoral Tribunal(HRET).
[16]

On August 27, 2004, the petitioner filed a Consolidated Motion for Early
Resolution; Manifestation that the COMELEC Second Division Issued a
Resolution Sustaining the Appeal of the Petitioner; and Reply to the
Comment.
[17]
He manifested that on August 16, 2004, the COMELEC Second
Division gave due course to his pending appeal.
[18]
At the same time, he
bewailed the failure of the COMELEC Second Division to annul the
proclamation.
[19]

The basic issue for resolution is whether we can take cognizance of this
petition.
Certiorari as a special civil action can be availed of only if there is
concurrence of the essential requisites, to wit: (a) the tribunal, board or officer
exercising judicial functions has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, and (b) there
is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary
course of law for the purpose of annulling or modifying the proceeding. There
must be capricious, arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power for it to
prosper.
[20]

Article VI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Sec. 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. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be
composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to
be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the
Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on
the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or
organization registered under the party-list system represented therein. The senior
Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
In Pangilinan v. Commission on Elections
[21]
we ruled that:
The Senate and the House of Representatives now have their respective Electoral
Tribunals which are the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of their respective Members, thereby divesting the Commission on
Elections of its jurisdiction under the 1973 Constitution over election cases pertaining
to the election of the Members of the Batasang Pambansa (Congress). It follows that
the COMELEC is now bereft of jurisdiction to hear and decide pre-proclamation
controversies against members of the House of Representatives as well as of the
Senate.
The HRET has sole and exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relative to
the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the House of
Representatives. Thus, once a winning candidate has been proclaimed,
taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the House of
Representatives, COMELECs jurisdiction over election contests relating to his
election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRETs own jurisdiction
begins.
[22]

It is undisputed that Miranda has already been proclaimed, taken his oath
and assumed office on June 14, 2004. As such, petitioners recourse would
have been to file an electoral protest before the HRET. His remedy is not this
petition for certiorari. Thus:
Finally, the private respondent Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. has already been proclaimed as
the winner in the congressional elections in the fourth district of Quezon City. He has
taken his oath of office and assumed his duties as representative; hence, the remedy
open to the petitioner was to have filed an electoral protest with the Electoral Tribunal
of the House of Representatives.
[23]

The allegation that Mirandas proclamation is null and void ab initio does
not divest the HRET of its jurisdiction. Thus:
(I)n an electoral contest where the validity of the proclamation of a winning candidate
who has taken his oath of office and assumed his post as Congressman is raised, that
issue is best addressed to the HRET. The reason for this ruling is self-evident, for it
avoids duplicity of proceedings and a clash of jurisdiction between constitutional
bodies, with due regard to the peoples mandate.
[24]

In Lazatin v. Commission on Elections
[25]
we ruled that, upon proclamation
of the winning candidate and despite its alleged invalidity, the COMELEC is
divested of its jurisdiction to hear the protest. Thus:
The petition is impressed with merit because the petitioner has been proclaimed
winner of the Congressional elections in the first district of Pampanga, has taken his
oath of office as such, and assumed his duties as Congressman. For this Court to take
cognizance of the electoral protest against him would be to usurp the functions of the
House Electoral Tribunal. The alleged invalidity of the proclamation (which has been
previously ordered by the COMELEC itself) despite alleged irregularities in
connection therewith, and despite the pendency of the protests of the rival candidates,
is a matter that is also addressed, considering the premises, to the sound judgment of
the Electoral Tribunal.
In this case, certiorari will not lie considering that there is an available and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law for the purpose of annulling or
modifying the proceedings before the COMELEC. After the proclamation,
petitioners remedy was an electoral protest before the HRET. The resolution
of the issues presented in this petition is best addressed to the sound
judgment and discretion of the electoral tribunal.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant Petition for Certiorari is
DISMISSED for lack of merit. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.