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VOL.

399,MARCH26,2003 611
Santosvs.CommissiononElections
*
G.R.No.155618.March26,2003.

EDGAR Y. SANTOS, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS (FIRST DIVISION) and PEDRO Q. PANULAYA,
respondents.

ActionsForumShoppingWordsandPhrasesForumshoppingisan
act of a party against whom an adverse judgment or order has been
renderedinoneforumofseekingandpossiblygettingafavorableopinionin
another forum, other than by appeal or special civil action for certiorari.
It is at once apparent from the records, as shown above, that respondent
wasguiltyofforumshoppingwhenheinstitutedSPRNo.372002withthe
COMELEC. Forumshopping is an act of a party against whom an adverse
judgment or order has been rendered in one forum of seeking and possibly
gettingafavorableopinioninanotherforum,otherthanbyappealorspecial
civil action for certiorari. It may also be the institution of two or more
actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that
one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. For it to exist,
there should be (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties as would
representthesameinterestinbothactions(b)identityofrightsassertedand
reliefprayedfor,thereliefbeingfoundedonthesamefactsand(c)identity
ofthetwoprecedingparticularssuchthatanyjudgmentrenderedintheother
actionwill,regardlessofwhichpartyissuccessful,amounttoresjudicatain
theactionunderconsideration.
SameSameThemostimportantfactorindeterminingtheexistenceof
forum shopping is the vexation caused the courts and partieslitigants by a
party who asks different courts to rule on the same or related causes or
grant the same or substantially the same reliefs Willful and deliberate
forumshopping is a ground for summary dismissal of the case, and
constitutes direct contempt of court.Forumshopping is considered a
pernicious evil it adversely affects the efficient administration of justice
since it clogs the court dockets, unduly burdens the financial and human
resourcesofthejudiciary,andtrifleswithandmocksjudicialprocesses.The
mostimportantfactorindeterminingtheexistenceofforumshoppingisthe
vexationcausedthecourtsandpartieslitigantsbyapartywhoasksdifferent
courtstoruleonthesameorrelatedcausesorgrantthesameorsubstantially
the same reliefs. Considering that respondent was indubitably guilty of
forumshopping when he filed SPR No. 372002, his petition should have
been dismissed outright by the COMELEC. Willful and deliberate forum
shopping is a ground for summary dismissal of the case, and constitutes
directcontemptofcourt.

_______________

*ENBANC.

612

612 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED

Santosvs.CommissiononElections

Same Certiorari Appeals Execution Pending Appeal Words and


Phrases Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and
whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or
wherethepowerisexercisedinanarbitraryordespoticmannerbyreason
of passion or personal hostility which must be so patent and gross as to
amounttoaninvasionofpositivedutyortoavirtualrefusaltoperformthe
duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of lawmere abuse of
discretion is not enough.The petition for certiorari in SPR No. 372002
assailed the trial courts orders for the execution of its decision pending
appeal. The grant of execution pending appeal was well within the
discretionary powers of the trial court. In order to obtain the annulment of
said orders in a petition for certiorari, it must first be proved that the trial
courtgravelyabuseditsdiscretion.Heshouldshownotmerelyareversible
errorcommittedbythetrialcourt,butagraveabuseofdiscretionamounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Grave abuse of discretion implies such
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction, or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic
manner by reason of passion or personal hostility which must be so patent
andgrossastoamounttoaninvasionofpositivedutyortoavirtualrefusal
to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. Mere
abuseofdiscretionisnotenough.
Same Same Same Same A valid exercise of discretion to allow
execution pending appeal requires that it should be based upon good
reasons to be stated in a special order.We find that no grave abuse of
discretion was committed by the trial court. In its order granting execution
pending appeal, it held: It is of judicial notice that for the public official
elected last May 14, 2001 elections only a short period is left. Relative to
this Courts jurisdiction over the instant case, the settled rule that the mere
filingofthenoticeofappealdoesnotdivestthetrialcourtofitsjurisdiction
over the case and to resolve pending incidents, i.e., motion for execution
pending appeal (Asmala vs. COMELEC, 289 SCRA 745) need not be
overemphasized. However, the COMELEC set aside the aforesaid order,
saying that shortness of term alone is not a good reason for execution of a
judgment pending appeal. We disagree. While it was indeed held that
shortness of the remaining term of office and posting a bond are not good
reasons,weclearlystatedinFermov.COMELEC that: A valid exercise of
the discretion to allow execution pending appeal requires that it should be
based upon good reasons to be stated in a special order. The following
constitute good reasons and a combination of two or more of them will
suffice to grant execution pending appeal: (1.) public interest involved or
willoftheelectorate(2.)theshortnessoftheremainingportionoftheterm
of the contested office and (3.) the length of time that the election contest
hasbeenpending(italicssupplied).

613

VOL.399,MARCH26,2003 613

Santosvs.CommissiononElections

Election Law Courts Board of Canvassers Between the


determination by the trial court of who of the candidates won the elections
andthefindingoftheBoardofCanvassersastowhomtoproclaim,itisthe
courtsdecisionthatshouldprevail.Betweenthedeterminationbythetrial
courtofwhoofthecandidateswontheelectionsandthefindingoftheBoard
ofCanvassersastowhomtoproclaim,itisthecourtsdecisionthatshould
prevail.ThiswassufficientlyexplainedinthecaseofRamasv.COMELEC
in this wise: All that was required for a valid exercise of the discretion to
allow execution pending appeal was that the immediate execution should be
basedupongoodreasonstobestatedinaspecialorder.Therationalewhy
suchexecutionisallowedinelectioncasesis,asstatedinGaholv.Riodique,
togiveasmuchrecognitiontotheworthofatrialjudgesdecisionasthat
which is initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the board of
canvassers.Thus:Whyshouldtheproclamationbytheboardofcanvassers
sufficeasbasisoftherighttoassumeoffice,subjecttofuturecontingencies
attendant to a protest, and not the decision of a court of justice? Indeed,
when it is considered that the board of canvassers is composed of persons
who are less technically prepared to make an accurate appreciation of the
ballots,apartfromtheirbeingmoreapttoyieldtoextraneousconsiderations,
andthattheboardmustactsummarily,practicallyracingagainsttime,while,
on the other hand, the judge has benefit of all the evidence the parties can
offer and of admittedly better technical preparation and background, apart
from his being allowed ample time for conscientious study and mature
deliberationbeforerenderingjudgment,onecannotbutperceivethewisdom
ofallowingtheimmediateexecutionofdecisionsinelectioncasesadverseto
the protestees, notwithstanding the perfection and pendency of appeals
therefrom, as long as there are, in the sound discretion of the court, good
reasonstherefor.Todeprivetrialcourtsoftheirdiscretiontograntexecution
pendingappealwould,inthewordsofTobonUyv.COMELEC,bringback
the ghost of the grabtheproclamationprolong the protest techniques so
often resorted to by devious politicians in the past in their efforts to
perpetuatetheirholdtoanelectiveoffice.Thiswould,asaconsequence,lay
towastethewilloftheelectorate.

SPECIALCIVILACTIONintheSupremeCourt.Certiorari.

ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
AlexanderM.Versozaforpetitioner.
RexRaynaldoC.Sandovalforprivaterespondent.

614

614 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

YNARESSANTIAGO,J.:

PetitionerEdgarY.SantosandrespondentPedroQ.Panulayawere
both candidates for Mayor of the Municipality of Balingoan,
MisamisOrientalintheMay14,2001elections.OnMay16,2001,
afterthevoteswerecountedandcanvassed,theMunicipalBoardof
Canvassers proclaimed respondent Panulaya as the duly elected
Mayor.
Petitioner filed an election protest before the Regional Trial
CourtofMisamisOriental,Branch26,whichwasdocketedasSPL
Election Protest No. 1M(2001). After trial and revision of the
ballots, the trial court found that petitioner garnered 2,181 votes
while respondent received only 2,105. Hence, on April 2, 2002, it
renderedjudgmentasfollows:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring and proclaiming


protestant/petitionerEdgarY.SantosasthedulyelectedMunicipalMayorof
Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, in the mayoralty elections held on May 14,
2001 with the plurality of Seventy Six (76) votes over and above his
protagonistprotestee Pedro Q. Panulaya setting aside as null and void the
proclamation of protestee made by the Municipal Board of Canvassers on
May 16, 2001, ordering to pay protestant/petitioner the costs and expenses
that the latter incurred in this protest in accordance with Section 259 of the
Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P. 881) and Section 7 of the
COMELECResolution1566,towit:
xxxxxxxxx.
TheClerkofCourtofthisCourtisherebydirectedtofurnishcopyofthe
DECISION to the following: Office of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) Office of the Commission on Audit Office of the
Department of Interior and Local Government Office of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan of Misamis Oriental, in accordance with Section 15 of the
COMELECResolution1566. 1
SOORDERED.
Petitioner thereafter filed a motion for execution pending appeal.
Meanwhile, before the trial court could act on petitioners motion,
respondent filed on April 22, 2002 with the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC) a petition for certiorari, docketed
2
as SPR
No.202002,assailingthedecisionofthetrialcourt. Likewiseon

_______________

1Rollo,pp.106107pennedbyPresidingJudgeJoaquinM.Murillo.

2Rollo,pp.4284.

615

VOL.399,MARCH26,2003 615
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

April22,2002,respondentappealedthetrialcourtsdecisiontothe
COMELEC,whereitwasdocketedasEACNo.A122002.
The COMELEC, in SPR No. 202002, issued a Writ of
Preliminary Injunction, which effectively enjoined the trial court
from acting on petitioners motion for execution pending appeal.
Subsequently, on August 19, 2002, the COMELEC dismissed SPR
No. 202002 after finding that the trial court did not commit grave
abuse of discretion in rendering the assailed judgment. Moreover,
theCOMELECheldthattheremedyfromthedecisionofthecourta
quowastofileanoticeofappeal,whichrespondentpreciselydidin
EACNo.A122002.Hence,itdirectedthetrialcourttodisposeof
all pending incidents in SPL Election Protest No. 1M(2001) with
dispatch,towit:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission (First Division)


RESOLVED as it hereby RESOLVES to DISMISS the instant petition for
lackofmerit.
ACCORDINGLY, the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued on 16 May
2002, as well as the Order issued on 27 April 2002 by the Commission
(First Division), are hereby set aside and lifted, respectively. The Court a
quo is hereby directed to dispose with immediate dispatch all pending
incidents in SPL Election Case No. 1M (2001) entitled Edgar Y. Santos,
Petitioner/ProtestantversusPedroQ.Panulaya,Respondent/Protestee.
Nopronouncementastocost. 3
SOORDERED.(italicsours)

Thus,onAugust20,2002,thetrialcourtissuedanOrderasfollows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court hereby upholds and


approves the Motion for Execution Pending Appeal. Further, finding good
reasons therefor, the Court hereby directs and orders the immediate exe
cution of the Decision promulgated on April 18, 2002, and as prayed for
install protestant/petitioner EDGAR Y. SANTOS as the duly elected Mayor
of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, to take his oath of office and assume the
functions and duties of Mayor after he shall have filed a bond of One
HundredThousandPesos(P100,000.00).

_______________

3Rollo,pp.126132,at131FirstDivisioncomposedofPresidingCommissioner

Rufino SB. Javier, Commissioner Luzviminda G. Tancangco and Commissioner


ResurreccionZ.BorraCommissionerTancangco,ponente.

616

616 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Santosvs.CommissiononElections
4
SOORDERED.

After petitioner posted


5
the required bond, the trial court issued the
WritofExecution, therebyinstallingpetitionerasMunicipalMayor
of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental. Accordingly, petitioner took his
oathofofficeandthereafterassumedthedutiesandfunctionsofhis
office.
On August 21, 2001, respondent filed with the COMELEC a
motion for reconsideration
6
of the dismissal of his petition in SPR
No. 202002. After five days, or on August
7
26, 2002, he filed a
supplementalpetitioninSPRNo.202002, whereinheprayed:

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, petitioner [herein


respondent] respectfully prays unto this Honorable Commission that the
followingOrdersofthepublicrespondent:

1. Resolutiondated20August2002
2. Orderdated20August2002
3. WritofExecutiondated21August2002

Benullifiedandsetaside.
Itisfurtherprayedthatintheeventthatthepublicrespondenthascarried
out its Order of ousting petitioner [herein respondent] from his position as
Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, that the same be nullified and
considered of no legal effect. It is likewise prayed that a STATUS QUO
ANTEORDERbeissuedbytheHonorableCommissioninordertoreinstate
the petitioner to his rightful position as Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis
Oriental. 8
Otherreliefs,justandequitablearelikewiseprayedfor.

Barelytwodayslater,onAugust28,2002,andwhilehismotionfor
reconsiderationandsupplementalpetitioninSPRNo.202002were
pending, respondent filed another
9
petition with the COMELEC,
docketed as SPR No. 372002. The petition contained the same
prayer as that in the supplemental petition filed in SPR 202002,
viz.:

_______________

4Rollo,pp.102104,atp.104.

5Rollo,pp.106108.

6Rollo,pp.8591.

7Rollo,pp.92101.

8Id.,atpp.9899.

9Rollo,pp.3141.

617

VOL.399,MARCH26,2003 617
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, petitioner [herein


respondent] respectfully prays unto this Honorable Commission that
immediately upon the filing of the herein petition, the following Orders of
thepublicrespondent:

1. Resolutiondated20August2002
2. Orderdated20August2002
3. Writofexecutiondated21August2002

Benullifiedandsetaside.
Pendingtrialandfinaljudgment,andsoonaftertheissuance,butduring
the effectivity of the Temporary Restraining Order, a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction be issued prohibiting, restraining and/or enjoining the public
respondent from further implementing the highly unjust, irregular and
oppressiveOrdersabovequoted
It is further prayed that in the event that the public respondent has
carried out its Order of ousting petitioner [herein respondent] from his
position as Mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, that the same be
nullified and considered of no legal effect. It is likewise prayed that a
STATUS QUO ANTE ORDER be issued by the Honorable Commission in
order to reinstate the petitioner to his rightful position as Mayor of
Balingoan,MisamisOriental.
Upon due notice and hearing, judgment be rendered in favor of the
petitioner [herein respondent] and against the respondent [herein petitioner]
asfollows:

1. MakingtheWritofPreliminaryProhibitoryInjunctionpermanent
2. DeclaringResolutiondated20August2002,Orderdated20August
2002,andWritofExecutiondated21August2002asnullandvoid
forbeinghighlyunjust,irregularandoppressivelypreparedinutter
violationoftheConstitutionalprovisionsonequalprotectionofthe
laws and due process, and for having been rendered with grave
abuseofdiscretionamountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction.
3. A writ of Prohibition be issued specifically commanding public
respondenttoceaseanddesistfromfurtherimplementingthehighly
unjust, irregular and oppressive Orders abovementioned are
concerned(sic)and
4. Orderingtherespondentstopaythecostsofsuit.

Suchotherreliefsandremedies,asarejustandequitableinthepremises,
10
arelikewiseprayedfor.

_______________

10Id.,atpp.3738.

618

618 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

On September 3, 2002, the COMELEC issued the assailed Order


directing the parties to maintain the status quo ante and enjoining
petitioner from assuming the functions of Mayor. Pertinent portion
oftheOrderreads:

In the interest of justice and so as not to render moot and academic the
issuesraisedinthepetition,theCommission(FirstDivision)herebydirects
thepartiestomaintainthestatusquoante,whichistheconditionprevailing
beforetheissuanceandimplementationofthequestionedOrderofthecourt
a quo dated August 20, 2002 and the Writ of Execution issued pursuant
theretodatedAugust21,2002,inSPL.ELECTIONCASENO.1M(2001)
entitled EDGAR Y. SANTOS versus PEDRO Q. PANULAYA.
Accordingly,effectiveimmediately,privaterespondentEDGARY.SANTOS
isherebyorderedtoceaseanddesistfromassumingthedutiesandfunctions
of the office of Mayor11of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental until further orders
fromthisCommission.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the above Order.


However, the COMELEC First Division did not refer the said
motion to the COMELEC 12En Banc. Hence, petitioner, citing our
rulinginKhov.COMELEC, broughttheinstantspecialcivilaction
forcertiorariwiththisCourt.
Meanwhile,onSeptember9,2002,petitionerfiledanOmnibus
Motion(1)ToDissolveTheStatusQuoOrderAsItWasBasedOn
An Unverified And Dismissed Petition With Pending Motion For
ReconsiderationAnd(2)ToReferThisMotionToTheCommission
En Banc Under
13
Section 2, Rule 3 of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure. On October 14, 2002, the COMELEC issued a
Resolution in SPR No. 372002, the dispositive portion of which
states:

_______________

11 Rollo, p. 28 First Division composed of Presiding Commissioner Rufino SB.

JavierandCommissionersLuzvimindaG.TancangcoandResurreccionZ.Borra.
12 344 Phil. 878 279 SCRA 463 [1997]. In a situation such as this where the

Commission in division committed grave abuse of discretion or acted without or in


excess of jurisdiction in issuing interlocutory orders relative to an action pending
before it and the controversy did not fall under any of the instances mentioned in
Section2,Rule3oftheCOMELECRulesofProcedure,theremedyoftheaggrieved
party is not to refer the controversy to the Commission en banc as this is not
permissible under its present rules but to elevate it to this Court via a petition for
certiorariunderRule65oftheRulesofCourt(atp.888).
13Rollo,pp.109115.

619

VOL.399,MARCH26,2003 619
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is hereby GRANTED.


Accordingly, the August 20, 2002 Resolution of the respondent judge
grantingtheMotionforExecutionPendingAppealaswellashisOrderalso
dated August 20, 2002 directing the issuance of the Writ of Execution and
his Writ of Execution dated August 21, 2002 are hereby set aside. Private
Respondent Edgar Y. Santos is enjoined from assuming the function of
mayor of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental until the final determination of the
electionappealcase.
Thisresolutionshallbeimmediatelyexecutory.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is hereby
requested to assist in the peaceful and orderly implementation of this
Resolution. 14
SOORDERED.

Thepetitionisimpressedwithmerit.
It is at once apparent from the records, as shown above, that
respondent was guilty of forumshopping when he instituted SPR
No. 372002 with the COMELEC. Forumshopping is an act of a
partyagainstwhomanadversejudgmentororderhasbeenrendered
inoneforumofseekingandpossiblygettingafavorableopinionin
another forum, other than by appeal or special civil action for
certiorari. It may also be the institution of two or more actions or
proceedingsgroundedonthesamecauseonthesuppositionthatone
ortheothercourtwouldmakeafavorabledisposition.Forittoexist,
there should be (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties as
would represent the same interest in both actions (b) identity of
rightsassertedandreliefprayedfor,thereliefbeingfoundedonthe
same facts and (c) identity of the two preceding particulars such
that any judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of
whichpartyissuccessful,amounttoresjudicataintheactionunder
15
consideration.
Inthecaseatbar,respondentobtainedanadversedecisionwhen
hispetitioninSPRNo.202002wasdismissedbytheCOMELEC.
Hethereafterfiledamotionforreconsiderationandasupplemental
petitionprayingforthenullificationofthetrial

_______________

14 Rollo, pp. 116125, at 124125 First Division composed of Commissioners


Rufino SB. Javier, Luzviminda G. Tancangco and Resurreccion Z. Borra
CommissionerTancangco,ponente.
15GSISv.CourtofAppeals,etal.,G.R.No.141454,31January2002,375 SCRA

431.

620

620 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

courts order for the execution of its decision pending appeal. Two
daysafterfilingthesupplementalpetition,andwhilethesamewas
very much pending before the COMELEC, he filed a wholly
separate petition for certiorari, docketed as SPR No. 372002
whereinhepleadedthesamereliefsprayedforinthesupplemental
petition. This is plainly evident from the respective prayers in the
supplemental petition and the petition for certiorari as reproduced
hereinabove. In doing so, respondent, before allowing the
COMELECtofullyresolvetheincidentinSPRNo.202002,both
ofwhichwereathisowninstance,soughttoincreasehischancesof
securingafavorabledecisioninanotherpetition.Hefiledthesecond
petition on the supposition that the COMELEC might look with
favoruponhisreliefs.
Forumshopping is considered a pernicious evil it adversely
affectstheefficientadministrationofjusticesinceitclogsthecourt
dockets, unduly burdens the financial and human resources 16
of the
judiciary,andtrifleswithandmocksjudicialprocesses. The most
important factor in determining the existence of forumshopping is
the vexation caused the courts and partieslitigants by a party who
asks different courts to rule on the same17or related causes or grant
thesameorsubstantiallythesamereliefs.
Considering that respondent was indubitably guilty of forum
shoppingwhenhefiledSPRNo.372002,hispetitionshouldhave
18
beendismissedoutrightbytheCOMELEC. Willfulanddeliberate
forumshoppingisagroundforsummarydismissalofthecase,and
19
constitutesdirectcontemptofcourt.
The petitionforcertiorari in SPR No. 372002 assailed the trial
courtsordersfortheexecutionofitsdecisionpendingappeal.The
grantofexecutionpendingappealwaswellwithinthediscretionary
powers of the trial court. In order to obtain the annulment of said
ordersinapetitionforcertiorari,itmustfirstbeprovedthatthetrial
courtgravelyabuseditsdiscretion.Heshouldshownot

_______________

16Canuto,Jr.,etal.v.NationalLaborRelationsCommission,etal.,412Phil.467,

474360SCRA52[2001].
17Roxasv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.139337,15August2001,363SCRA207,at

218.
18Candido,etal.v.Camacho,etal.,G.R.No.136751,15January2002,373SCRA

245.
19RepublicofthePhilippinesv.CarmelDevelopment,Inc.,G.R. No. 142572, 20

February2002,377SCRA459.

621

VOL.399,MARCH26,2003 621
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

merely a reversible error committed by the trial court, but a grave


abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
Graveabuseofdiscretionimpliessuchcapriciousandwhimsical
exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or
wherethepowerisexercisedinanarbitraryordespoticmannerby
reasonofpassionorpersonalhostilitywhichmustbesopatentand
gross as to amount to an invasion of positive duty or to a virtual
refusaltoperformthedutyenjoinedortoactatallincontemplation
20
oflaw.Mereabuseofdiscretionisnotenough.
Wefindthatnograveabuseofdiscretionwascommittedbythe
trialcourt.Initsordergrantingexecutionpendingappeal,itheld:

It is of judicial notice that for the public official elected last May 14, 2001
electionsonlyashortperiodisleft.RelativetothisCourtsjurisdictionover
the instant case, the settled rule that the mere filing of the notice of appeal
doesnotdivestthetrialcourtofitsjurisdictionoverthecaseandtoresolve
pending incidents, i.e., motion for execution pending appeal 21
(Asmala vs.
COMELEC,289SCRA745)neednotbeoveremphasized.

However, the COMELEC set aside the aforesaid order, saying that
shortness of term alone is not a good reason for execution of a
judgmentpendingappeal.Wedisagree.
Whileitwasindeedheldthatshortnessoftheremainingtermof
officeandpostingabondarenotgoodreasons,weclearlystatedin
22
Fermov.COMELEC that:

Avalidexerciseofthediscretiontoallowexecutionpendingappealrequires
that it should be based upon good reasons to be stated in a special order.
Thefollowingconstitutegoodreasonsanda combination of two or more
of them will suffice to grant execution pending appeal: (1.) public interest
involvedorwilloftheelectorate(2.)theshortnessoftheremainingportion
of the term of the contested office and (3.) the23 length of time that the
electioncontesthasbeenpending(italicssupplied).

The decision of the trial court in Election Protest No. 1M(2001)


wasrenderedonApril2,2002,orafteralmostoneyearoftrialand

_______________

20TheHongkongandShanghaiBankingCorporationEmployeesUnionv.National

LaborRelationsCommission,etal.,G.R.No.113541,22November2001,370SCRA
193.
21Rollo,p.122.

22384Phil.584328SCRA52[2000].

23Id.,atp.592.

622

622 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

revision of the questioned ballots. It found petitioner as the


candidatewiththepluralityofvotes.Respondentappealedthesaid
decisiontotheCOMELEC.Inthemeantime,thethreeyeartermof
theOfficeoftheMayorcontinuedtorun.Thewilloftheelectorate,
as determined by the trial court in the election protest, had to be
respected and given meaning. The Municipality of Balingoan,
Misamis Oriental, needed the services of a mayor even while the
election protest was pending, and it had to be the candidate
judiciallydeterminedtohavebeenchosenbythepeople.
Between the determination by the trial court of who of the
candidates won the elections and the finding of the Board of
Canvassers as to whom to proclaim, it is the courts decision that
shouldprevail.ThiswassufficientlyexplainedinthecaseofRamas
24
v.COMELEC inthiswise:

Allthatwasrequiredforavalidexerciseofthediscretiontoallowexecution
pending appeal was that the immediate execution should be based upon
good reasons to be stated in a special order. The rationale why 25such
executionisallowedinelectioncasesis,asstatedinGaholv.Riodique, to
give as much recognition to the worth of a trial judges decision as that
which is initially ascribed by the law to the proclamation by the board of
canvassers.Thus:

Whyshouldtheproclamationbytheboardofcanvasserssufficeasbasisoftherightto
assume office, subject to future contingencies attendant to a protest, and not the
decision of a court of justice? Indeed, when it is considered that the board of
canvassers is composed of persons who are less technically prepared to make an
accurate appreciation of the ballots, apart from their being more apt to yield to
extraneousconsiderations,andthattheboardmustactsummarily,practicallyracing
againsttime,while,ontheotherhand,thejudgehasbenefitofalltheevidencethe
partiescanofferandofadmittedlybettertechnicalpreparationandbackground,apart
from his being allowed ample time for conscientious study and mature deliberation
before rendering judgment, one cannot but perceive the wisdom of allowing the
immediate execution of decisions in election cases adverse to the protestees,
notwithstanding the perfection and pendency of appeals therefrom, as long as there
are,inthesounddiscretionofthecourt,goodreasonstherefor.

_______________

24349Phil.857286SCRA189[1998].

25G.R.No.L40415,27June1975,64SCRA494.

623

VOL.399,MARCH26,2003 623
Santosvs.CommissiononElections

To deprive trial courts of their discretion to grant


26
execution pending appeal
would,inthewordsofTobonUyv.COMELEC,

bringbacktheghostofthegrabtheproclamationprolongtheprotesttechniquesso
oftenresortedtobydeviouspoliticiansinthepastintheireffortstoperpetuatetheir
holdtoanelectiveoffice.Thiswould,asaconsequence,laytowastethewillofthe
27
electorate.

Thus,theCOMELECcommittedgraveabuseofdiscretioningiving
due course, instead of dismissing outright, the petition in SPR No.
372002 despite the clear showing that respondent was guilty of
forumshoppingandinsettingasidethetrialcourtsordergranting
executionpendingappeal.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is
GRANTED.TheOrderdatedSeptember3,2002andtheResolution
datedOctober14,2002oftheCommissiononElectionsinSPRNo.
372002 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and the said case is
ordered DISMISSED on the ground of forumshopping. The Order
dated August 20, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis
Oriental, Branch 26, granting the execution pending appeal of its
decision in Election Protest No. 1M(2001), and the Writ of
Execution dated August 21, 2002, are REINSTATED. The full
enforcementofthesaidWritmustforthwithbemade.Thecourtof
origin shall transmit immediately to the Commission on Elections
the records of SPL Election Case No. 1M(2001), and the
CommissiononElectionsshalldisposeoftheappealinEACNo.A
122002withdeliberatedispatch.
ThisDecisionshallbeimmediatelyexecutory.
Costsagainstprivaterespondent.
SOORDERED.

Davide, Jr. (C.J.), Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza,


Panganiban, Quisumbing, SandovalGutierrez, Carpio, Austria
Martinez, Corona, CarpioMorales, Callejo, Sr. and Azcuna, JJ.,
concur.

Petition granted, order and resolution annulled and set aside,


casedismissed.

_______________

26G.R.Nos.88158&9710809,4March1992,206SCRA779.

27Supra,note23,atpp.869870.

624

624 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Sunga

Notes.TheBoardofCanvassersmaynotproclaimacandidate
as winner where returns are contested unless authorized by the
COMELEC. (Jamil vs. Commission on Elections, 283 SCRA 349
[1997])
The rationale why execution pending appeal is allowed in
electioncasesistogiveasmuchrecognitiontotheworthofatrial
judgesdecisionasthatwhichisinitiallyascribedbythelawtothe
proclamation by the board of canvassers. (Ramas vs. Commission
onElections,286SCRA189[1998])
Preproclamation cases refer to any question pertaining to or
affectingtheproceedingsoftheboardofcanvasserswhichmaybe
raised by any candidate or by any registered political party or
coalition of political parties before the board or directly with the
Commission,oranymatterraisedunderSections233,234,235and
236inrelationtothepreparation,transmission,receipt,custodyand
appreciation of election returns. (Sandoval vs. Commission on
Elections,323SCRA403[2000])

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