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RONALD ALLAN POE a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR. vs GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYOP.E.T. CASE No. 002. March 29, 2005
RONALD ALLAN POE a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR. VS. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
P.E.T. CASE No. 002. March 29, 2005
In the 2004 election, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) was proclaimed the duly elected President of the Philippines. The second placer in the elections, Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ), filed an election protest before the Electoral Tribunal. When the FPJ died during his medical treatment, his widow, Mrs. Jesusa Sonora Poe a.k.a. Susan Roces filed a motion to intervene as a substitute for deceased protestant FPJ. She claims that there is an urgent need for her to continue and substitute for her late husband to ascertain the true and genuine will of the electorate in the interest of the Filipino people. The Protestee, GMA asserts that the widow of a deceased candidate is not the proper party to replace the deceased protestant since a public office is personal and not a property that passes on to the heirs. Protestee also contends that under the Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, only the registered candidates who obtained the 2nd and 3rd highest votes for the presidency may contest the election of the president.
May the widow substitute/intervene for the protestant who died during the pendency of the latter’s protest case.
Only the registered candidate for President or for Vice-President of the Philippines who received the second or third highest number of votes may contest the election of the President or the Vice-President, as the case may be, by filing a verified petition with the Clerk of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal within thirty (30) days after the proclamation of the winner.
An election protest is not purely personal and exclusive to the protestant or to the protestee, hence, substitution and intervention is allowed but only by a real party in interest. Note that Mrs. FPJ herself denies any claim to the office of President but rather stresses that it is with the “paramount public interest” in mind that she desires “to pursue the process” commenced by her late husband. However, nobility of intention is not the point of reference in determining whether a person may intervene in an election protest. In such intervention, the interest which allows a person to intervene in a suit must be in the matter of litigation and of such direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by the effect of the judgment. In this protest, Mrs. FPJ will not immediately and directly benefit from the outcome should it be determined that the declared president did not truly get the highest number of votes.
AQUINO vs. COMELEC
(248 SCRA 400)
On 20 March 1995, Agapito A. Aquino filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Representative for the new Second Legislative District of Makati City. In his certificate of candidacy, Aquino stated that he was a resident of the aforementioned district for 10 months. Faced with a petition for disqualification, he amended the entry on his residency in his certificate of candidacy to 1 year and 13 days. The Commission on Elections dismissed the petition on 6 May and allowed Aquino to run in the election of 8 May. Aquino won. Acting on a motion for reconsideration of the above dismissal, the Commission on Election later issued an order suspending the proclamation of Aquino until the Commission resolved the issue. On 2 June, the Commission on Elections found Aquino ineligible and disqualified for the elective office for lack of constitutional qualification of residence.
Whether “residency” in the certificate of candidacy actually connotes “domicile” to warrant the
disqualification of Aquino from the position in the electoral district.
The place “where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home,” where he, no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain, i.e., his domicile, is that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of residence for the purposes of election law. The purpose is to exclude strangers or newcomers unfamiliar with the conditions and needs of the community from taking advantage of favorable circumstances existing in that community for electoral gain. Aquino’s certificate of candidacy in a previous (1992) election indicates that he was a resident and a registered voter of San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac for more than 52 years prior to that election. Aquino’s connection to the Second District of Makati City is an alleged lease agreement of a condominium unit in the area. The intention not to establish a permanent home in Makati City is evident in his leasing a condominium unit instead of buying one. The short length of time he claims to be a resident of Makati (and the fact of his stated domicile in Tarlac and his claims of other residences in Metro Manila) indicate that his sole purpose in transferring his physical residence is not to acquire a new, residence or domicile but only to qualify as a candidate for Representative of the Second District of Makati City. Aquino was thus rightfully disqualified by the Commission on Elections.
Soller vs COMELEC
G.R. NO. 139853
Petitioner and private respondent (Saulong) were both candidates for mayor of the municipality of Bansud, Oriental Mindoro in the May 11, 1998 elections. The petitioner was proclaimed as mayor by the municipal board of canvassers. Private respondent filed a petition with the COMELEC to annul the proclamation. Later, private respondent filed an election protest against petitioner with the RTC. The COMELEC dismissed the pre-proclamation case filed by private respondent, while the RTC denied petitioner’s motion to dismiss. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but said motion was denied.
Petitioner then filed with the COMELEC a petition for certiorari contending that respondent RTC acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in not dismissing private respondent’s election protest. The COMELEC en banc dismissed petitioner’s suit. Petitioner now questions this decision of the COMELEC en banc.
Whether or not the COMELEC has the authority to decide on the case.
The SC has ruled in previous cases that the COMELEC, sitting en banc, does not have the requisite authority to hear and decide election cases including pre-proclamation controversies in the first instance. This power pertains to the divisions of the Commission. Any decision by the Commission en banc as regards election cases decided by it in the first instance is null and void. In the SC’s view, the authority to resolve petition for certiorari involving incidental issues of election protest, like the questioned order of the trial court, falls within the division of the COMELEC and not on the COMELEC en banc.
Office of the Ombudsman vs Zaldarriaga
G.R. No. 175349 , June 22, 2010
Zaldarriaga was a Municipal Treasurer, COA conducted an audit examination of the accountabilities of Zaldarriaga's cash and accounts covering November 1997 to November 1998. The audit showed a deficiency of P4.7M. Respondent was asked to restitute the deficiency but he failed to do so. COA filed a Letter-Complaint, but Zaldarriaga contested the finding of the COA auditors alleging that it was inaccurate, incorrect, and devoid of merit. The Provincial Treasurer also conducted its own investigation, but its findings did not indicate any shortage but, instead, pointed out that had the mayor, treasurer, and accountant observed the COA Rules, the irregularity would not have been committed.
Two years later, COA conducted another audit examination. Report showed a zero balance during the last examination conducted. Respondent then sought for dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the latest COA report indicated that there was no shortage. However, the Office of the Ombudsman rendered a decision dismissing respondent from government service for dishonesty. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the latter hence the said petition for review on certiorari.
Whether CA erred in holding that the Ombudsman’s dismissal was not based on sufficient evidence.
In administrative cases, the quantum of evidence necessary to find an individual administratively liable is substantial evidence. Substantial evidence does not necessarily mean preponderant proof as required in ordinary civil cases, but such kind of relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion or evidence commonly accepted by reasonably prudent men in the conduct of their affairs. The evidence upon which respondents’ administrative liability would be anchored lacked that degree of certainty required in administrative cases, because the two separate audits conducted by the Commission on Audit yielded conflicting results. Evidence of shortage in respondents’ cash and accounts, as alleged in the first audit report, is imperative to hold him liable.
In this case, the evidence against respondent could not be relied upon, because the second audit report, which was favorable to him, necessarily puts into question the reliability of the initial audit findings. Whether the zero balance as appearing in the second audit report was correct or inadvertently indicated, the credibility and accuracy of the two audit reports were already tarnished. Even in administrative cases, a degree of moral certainty is necessary to support a finding of liability.
Petitioner maintains that the zero-balance reflected in the second report, prepared two years after the first audit, cannot negate the finding of cash shortage, considering that second report is defective.
The petition is bereft of merit. In administrative cases, the quantum of evidence necessary to find an individual administratively liable is substantial evidence.
Substantial evidence does not necessarily mean preponderant proof as in civil cases, but such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion or evidence commonly accepted by reasonably prudent men in the conduct of their affairs.
Here, the evidence lacked that degree of certainty because the entries in the two audit examinations yielded conflicting results. In the first report, the alleged shortage is 4.7M. However, in the succeeding report was reflected that there was no balance during the last (the first) audit. These discrepancies cannot be ignored. Evidence of shortage is imperative to hold respondent. Here, the evidence could not be relied upon. The second report puts into question the reliability of the first. Whether the zero balance as appearing in the second audit report was correct or inadvertently indicated, the credibility and accuracy of the two reports were already tarnished. A separate and more thorough audit would be required to dispel any uncertainties and to arrive at respondent’s true and correct accountability. The shortage of funds was clearly not indubitably established. Until such audit is conducted, the two audit reports cannot be used to prove or disprove any shortage in respondent’s cash and accounts.
In the instant case, the evidence submitted to conclude that respondent was administratively liable is sorely wanting.