You are on page 1of 7

SUNGA V COMELEC

288 SCRA 76
FACTS:

Petitioner Manuel C. Sunga was one of the candidates for the position of Mayor in the
Municipality of Iguig, Province of Cagayan, in the 8 May 1995 elections.
Private respondent Ferdinand B. Trinidad, then incumbent mayor, was a candidate for reelection in the same municipality.
Sunga filed with the COMELEC a complaint accusing respondent of utilizing
government properties in his campaign and praying for the latter's immediate
DISQUALIFICATION.
Another letter reiterated petitioner's prayer while alleging that respondent and his men
committed acts of terrorism and violated the gun ban.
An Amended Petition was filed with the Clerk of Court of the Commission containing
substantially the same allegations as the previous letters but supported by affidavits and
other documentary evidence.
Trinidad garnered the highest number of votes, while Sunga trailed second.
Sunga moved for the suspension of the proclamation of Trinidad.
Trinidad was proclaimed the elected mayor, prompting Sunga to file another motion to
suspend the effects of the proclamation.
Both motions were not acted upon by the COMELEC 2nd Division and thereafter
dismissed the case.

ISSUE/S:
Whether or not COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion for dismissing the
disqualification case;
Whether or not Sunga should be proclaimed as the Mayor.
HELD:
YES, COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion for dismissing the disqualification case.
The Amended Petition retroacted to such earlier dates of the letter of complaint, an amendment
which merely supplements and amplifies facts originally alleged in the complaint relates back to
the date of the commencement of the action and is not barred by the statute of limitations which
expired after the service of the original complaint.
Before final judgment If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an
election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such
election the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry
or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may, during the pendency
thereof, order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of
guilt is strong. (Sec. 6, RA 6646)

A candidate guilty of election offenses would be undeservedly rewarded, instead of punished, by


the dismissal of the disqualification case against him simply because the investigating body was
unable, for any reason caused upon it, to determine before the election if the offenses were
indeed committed by the candidate sought to be disqualified. All that the erring aspirant would
need to do is to employ delaying tactics so that the disqualification case based on the commission
of election offenses would not be decided before the election. This scenario is productive of
more fraud which certainly is not the main intent and purpose of the law. The purpose of a
disqualification proceeding is to prevent the candidate from running or, if elected, from serving,
or to prosecute him for violation of election laws. The fact that a candidate has been proclaimed
and had assumed the position to which he was elected does not divest the COMELEC of
authority and jurisdiction to continue the hearing and eventually decide the disqualification. The
COMELEC should not dismiss the case simply because the respondent has been proclaimed.
NO, Sunga should not be proclaimed as the Mayor notwithstanding the fact that the
disqualification case may proceed. The wreath of victory cannot be transferred from the
disqualified winner to the repudiated loser because the law then as now only authorizes a
declaration of election in favor of the person who has obtained a plurality of votes to be declared
elected.
If the winner is ineligible, the candidate who got the highest number of votes cannot be
proclaimed elected as he did not get the majority or plurality of the votes (Note that Trinidad was
not yet declared disqualified before election). As provided in Sec. 44, RA No. 7160 and echoed
in Art. 83 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code of 1991,
the language of the law is clear, explicit and unequivocal, accordingly, in the event that Trinidad
is adjudged to be disqualified, a permanent vacancy will be created for failure of the elected
mayor to qualify for the said office. In such eventuality, the duly elected vice-mayor shall
succeed as provided by law.
NATURE OF ELECTION OFFENSES. It is worth to note that an election offense has
criminal as well as electoral aspects. Its criminal aspect involves the ascertainment of the
guilt or innocence of the accused candidate. Like in any other criminal case, it usually
entails a full-blown hearing and the quantum of proof required to secure a conviction is
beyond reasonable doubt. Its electoral aspect, on the other hand, is a determination of
whether the offender should be disqualified from office. This is done through an
administrative proceeding which is summary in character and requires only a clear
preponderance of evidence. Thus, under Sec. 4 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure,
petitions for disqualification "shall be heard summarily after due notice." It is the electoral
aspect that we are more concerned with, under which an erring candidate may be
disqualified even without prior criminal conviction.

PEOPLE V. FERRER
FACTS:

The information accused Andres G. Ferrer of the offense of violation of Sections 51 and
54 in relation to Sections 183, 184 and 185 of the Revised Election Code, committed as
follows:
That on or about the Election Day, and for sometime prior thereto, in the province of
Pangasinan, Ferrer, being then and there a Foreign Affairs Officer, Class III,
Department of Foreign Affairs, and a classified civil service officer, duly qualified
and appointed as such, induced, influenced, swayed and made the electors vote in
favor of the candidates of the Liberal Party.
He delivered a speech during a political rally of the Liberal Party in Barrio Caloocan
Norte, Binmaley, Pangasinan, inducing the electors to vote for the candidates of the
Liberal Party but more particularly for President Quirino and Speaker Perez;
That during said political meeting the said accused caused to be distributed to the
people who attended said meeting cigarettes and pamphlets concerning the Liberal
Party; and (2) that the said accused, Andres G. Ferrer, sometime prior to the last
elections campaigned in the Barrio of Caloocan Norte, of the said municipality of
Binmaley, going from house to house and induced the electors to whom he
distributed sample ballots of the Liberal Party to vote for the candidates of said
Party.
TC: causing cigarettes or pamphlets concerning the Liberal Party to be distributed to the
people who attended a political meeting, does not constitute a violation of section 51 of
the Revised Election Code, because it is not giving "food" for tobacco is not food; nor
does it constitute a violation of that part of section 51 which makes unlawful the
contributing or giving, directly or indirectly, of money or things of value, because the
information merely charges the defendant with having caused cigarettes, etc. to be
distributed, and it does not state that the cigarettes belonged to the defendant and
were being given away by him as his contribution for electioneering purposes.
Nevertheless, the information is defective, because it charges two violations of the
Revised Election Code, to wit: section 51 to which a heavier penalty is attached, and
section 54 for which a lighter penalty is provided.
And the prosecuting attorneys had that in mind when at the end of the information filed
by them they stated: "Contrary to Sections 51 and 54 in relation to Sections 183, 184 and
185 of Republic Act No. 180, as amended."

DISTRIBUTION OF THINGS OF VALUE DISTINGUISHED FROM ELECTIONEERING;


WHO MAY COMMIT THE VIOLATIONS. Causing cigarettes which are things of value to
be distributed, made unlawful by section 51 and punished by section 183 of the Revised Election
Code, cannot be deemed a necessary means to commit the lesser violation of section 64 of the
same law were the penalty attached to it taken into consideration.
In the present case causing cigarettes or things of value to be distributed by the defendant to the
people who attended a political meeting is a violation distinct from that of electioneering

committed by a classified civil service officer or employee. The former has no connection with
the latter.
A violation of Section 51 may be committed by any candidate, political committee, voter or any
other person, whereas a violation of Section 54 may only be committed by a justice, judge, fiscal,
treasurer or assessor of any province, officer or employee of the Army, member of the national,
provincial, city, municipal or rural police force, and classified civil service officer or employee.

MAPPALA vs. NUEZ


240 SCRA 600
Mappala v. Nuez, et al.
A.M. No. RTJ-94-1208 January 26, 1995
Quiason, J.

FACTS:

Administrative complaint filed by Jacinto Mappala against Judge Crispulo A. Nuez for
gross inefficiency, serious misconduct and violation of the Code of Judicial Ethics.
In his decision, respondent found that Alejandro Angoluan shot complainant inside
Precinct No. 2, located at the elementary school building in Sto. Tomas, Isabela, during
the barangay elections.
Respondent also found that Alejandro was the one who surrendered the gun.
To respondent, the surrender of the weapon was an implied admission that it was the one
used by Alejandro in shooting complainant.
Inspite of all these findings, respondent acquitted Alejandro of illegally carrying a deadly
weapon inside a precinct on the theory that the gun was not seized from him while he was
inside the precinct.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is administratively liable for serious misconduct foracquitting
Alejandro Angoluan of violation of the Omnibus Election Code or Judge erred in ruling that
Alejandro was not in violation of illegal possession of firearms.
HELD:
CRIMINAL LAW; VIOLATION OF THE OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE; ESTABLISHED IN
CASE AT BENCH. According to respondent: ". . . With respect to the other accused
Alejandro Angoluan, although there is evidence to prove that he shot the complainant Jacinto
Mappala, the gun which he allegedly used was surrendered by him two (2) days after the incident
and he was not apprehended in possession of the gun within 100 meters radius of the precinct.
This Court believes that he should not be prosecuted (sic) in violation of Article 22, Section 261,
Subsection (p) of the Omnibus Election Code". To support a conviction under Section 261(p) of

the Omnibus Election Code, it is not necessary that the deadly weapon should have been seized
from the accused while he was in the precinct or within a radius of 100 meters therefrom. It is
enough that the accused carried the deadly weapon "in the polling place and within a radius of
one hundred meters thereof" during any of the specified days and hours.
After respondent himself had found that the prosecution had established these facts, it is difficult
to understand why he acquitted Alejandro of the charge of violation of Section 261(p) of the
Omnibus Election Code.
Yes. Respondent acquitted Alejandro Angoluan of violation of Section 261 (p) of the Omnibus
Election Code. Said provision reads as follows: Deadly weapons. - Any person who carries any
deadly weapon in the polling place and within a radius of one hundred meters thereof during the
days and hours fixed by law for the registration of voters in the polling place, voting, counting of
votes, or preparation of the election returns. However, in cases of affray, turmoil, or disorder,
any peace officer or public officer authorized by the Commission to supervise the election is
entitled to carry firearms or any other weapon for the purpose of preserving and enforcing the
law.
PEOPLE V. REYES
POLITICAL LAW; ELECTION LAW; BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881; PROHIBITION
AGAINST TRANSFER OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN THE CIVIL SERVICE
DURING THE ELECTION PERIOD; ELEMENTS THEREOF. It ought to be immediately
obvious that Section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881 does not per se outlaw the transfer of a government
officer or employee during the election period. To be sure, the transfer or detail of a public
officer or employee is a prerogative of the appointing authority. It is necessary to meet the
exigencies of public service sometimes too difficult to perceive and predict. Without this
inherent prerogative, the appointing authority may not be able to cope with emergencies to the
detriment of public service. Clearly then, the transfer or detail of a government officer or
employee will not be penalized by Section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881 if done to promote efficiency
in the government service. Hence, Section 2 of Resolution No. 2333 provides that the
COMELEC has to pass upon the reason for the proposed transfer or detail, viz: "Any request for
authority to make or cause any transfer or detail of any officer or employee in the civil service,
including public school teachers, shall be submitted in writing to the Commission indicating
therein the office and place to which the officer or employee is proposed to be transferred or
detailed, and stating the reason therefor.
Prescinding from this predicate, two (2) elements must be established to prove a violation of
Section 261 (h) of B.P. Blg. 881, viz: (1) The fact of transfer or detail of a public officer or
employee within the election period as fixed by the COMELEC, and (2) the transfer or
detail was effected without prior approval of the COMELEC in accordance with its
implementing rules and regulations.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT VIOLATED IN CASE AT BAR. In the case at bench, respondent
Maniego transferred Ebio, then the Customs Operations Chief, MICP to the Office of the Deputy
Collector of Customs for Operations as Special Assistant on January 14, 1992. On this date,

January 14, 1992, the election period for the May 11, 1992 synchronized elections had already
been fixed to commence January 12, 1992 until June 10, 1992. As aforestated, this election
period had been determined by the COMELEC in its Resolution No. 2314 dated November 20,
1991 and Resolution No. 2328 dated January 2, 1992. Nonetheless, it was only in Resolution No.
2333 which took effect on January 15, 1992 that COMELEC promulgated the necessary rules on
how to get its approval on the transfer or detail of public officers or employees during the
election period. Before the effectivity of these rules, it cannot be said that Section 261 (h) of B.P.
Blg. 881, a penal provision, was already enforceable. Needless to state, respondent Maniego
could not be charged with failing to secure the approval of the COMELEC when he transferred
Ebio on January 14, 1992 as on that day, the rules of the COMELEC on the subject were yet
inexistent.

DE JESUS vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES


120 SCRA 760, 1983
FACTS:

After the local elections of January 18, 1980, Ananias Hibo, defeated candidate of the
Nacionalista Party for the office of mayor of the Municipality of Casiguran, Sorsogon
filed with the COMELEC a complaint charging petitioner Rogelio de Jesus, then
COMELEC registrar of Casiguran, with violation of the 1978 Election Code.
Asst. Fiscals Manuel Genova and Delfin Tarog, in their capacity as deputized
Tanodbayan prosecutors, conducted an investigation.
A prima facie case against petitioner for violation of section 89 and sub-sections [x] and
[mm] of Section 178 of the Election Code of 1978 was found to exist.
The following information, was filed before the Sandiganbayan.
Petitioner filed a motion to quash the information, contending that neither the
Tanodbayan nor the Sandiganbayan has the authority to investigate, prosecute and
try the offense.
In its opposition, the prosecution maintained the Tanodbayans exclusive authority to
investigate and prosecute offenses committed by public officers and employees in
relation to their office, and consequently, the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction to try and
decide the charges against petitioner.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the Tanodbayan and the Sandiganbayan have the power to investigate, prosecute,
and try election offenses committed by a public officer in relation to his office.
HELD:
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; COMELEC; CONSTITUTIONAL GRANT OF POWER TO
ENFORCE AND ADMINISTER LAWS RELATIVE TO THE CONDUCT OF ELECTION
AND TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE ELECTION OFFENSES. The grant to the
COMELEC of the power, among others, to enforce and administer all laws relative to the

conduct of election and the concomitant authority to investigate and prosecute election
offenses is not without compelling reason.
The evident constitutional intendment in bestowing this power to the COMELEC is to insure the
free, orderly and honest conduct of elections, failure of which would result in the frustration of
the true will of the people and make a mere idle ceremony of the sacred right and duty of every
qualified citizen to vote. To divest the COMELEC of the authority to investigate and prosecute
offenses committed by public officials in relation to their office would thus seriously impair its
effectiveness in achieving this clear constitutional mandate.
2. ID.; ID.; BESTOWAL UPON COMELEC AND COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE TO
INVESTIGATE, PROSECUTE AND HEAR ELECTION OFFENSES, CATEGORICAL.
From a careful scrutiny of the constitutional provisions relied upon by the Sandiganbayan, We
perceive neither explicit nor implicit grant to it and its prosecuting arm, the Tanodbayan, of the
authority to investigate, prosecute and hear election offenses committed by public officers in
relation to their office, as contradistinguished from the clear and categorical bestowal of said
authority and jurisdiction upon the COMELEC and the courts of first instance under Sections
182 and 184, respectively, of the Election Code of 1978.

PEOPLE V. BAYONA
ELECTIONS; CARRYING OF ARMS WITHIN FIFTY METERS FROM A POLLING PLACE.
The law which the defendant violated is a statutory provision, and the intent with which he
violated it is immaterial. It may be conceded that the defendant did not intend to intimidate any
elector or to violate the law in any other way, but when he got out of his automobile and carried
his revolver inside of the fence surrounding the polling place, he committed the act complained
of, and he committed it willfully. The act prohibited by the Election Law was complete. The
intention to intimidate the voters or to interfere otherwise with the election is not made an
essential element of the offense. Unless an offender actually makes use of his revolver, it would
be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove that he intended to intimidate the voters.
2. ID.; ID.; INTENT TO COMMIT A CRIME AND INTENT TO PERPETRATE THE ACT.
The rule is that in acts mala in se there must be a criminal intent, but in those mala prohibita it is
sufficient if the prohibited act was intentionally done. "Care must be exercised in distinguishing
the difference between the intent to commit the crime and the intent to perpetrate the act. . . ."
(U.S. vs. Go Chico, 14 Phil., 128.)