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CASE #: 57

TOPIC: Powers under Constitutional Bodies Electoral Trbibunals

G.R. No. 178413 Mar. 13, 2008
TITLE: Aquilino Pimentel III petitioner-appellee, vs. The Commission on Elections respondent-
NATURE OF ACTION: Special Civil Action in the Supreme Court Certiorari and Mandamus

At the time of filing of the petition (May 14, 2007), 11 candidates were already officially proclaimed
Only remaining contenders for the twelfth and final senatorial post were Aquilino Pimentel III and
private respondent Juan Miguel F. Zubiri
Public respondent COMELEC acting as the National Board of Canvassers continued to conduct
canvass proceedings to determine the twelfth and last Senator-elect

Side of the Petitioner/Appellee:

Pimentel is assailing the proceedings before the NBC and its constituted Special Provincial
Board of Canvassers for Maguindanao in which the Provincial and Municapal Certificates of
Canvass from the province of Maguindanao
He is alleging that he was deprived of his constitutionally guaranteed right of due process
when his counsel was prohibited from asking questions to PES Bedol (former provincial
election supervisor) and the Chairpersons of the MBOCs-Maguindanao
He is also alleging that the second Maguindanao PCOC from the national canvass was
tampered with, falsified and full of discrepancies because it was only copy 2 (copies intended
to be posted on the wall)

Side of the Respondent/Appellant:

Zubiri was then proclaimed as the winner and filed for the dismissal of Pimentels petition
arguing that pursuant to his assumption of office, controversies involving his election and
qualification now fell under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Senate Electoral Tribunal


WON COMELEC had jurisdiction over the case


NO. According to Art. VI, Sec. 17 of the Constitution, the Senate Electoral shall be the sole judge of all
contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective members.
Thus, once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a senator,
COMELECs jurisdiction over election contests relating to his election, returns, and qualifications ends, and
the SETs own jurisdiction begins. The word "sole" in Article VI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution
underscores the exclusivity of the electoral tribunals' jurisdiction over election contests relating to their
respective members. It is therefore crystal clear that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain a petition for
certiorari and mandamus on matters, which may be threshed out in an election contest. It is the SET which
has exclusive jurisdiction to act on the complaint of Pimentel involving, as it does, a contest relating to the
election of Zubiri, now a member of the Senate.