a collections of case digests and laws that can help aspiring law students to become a lawyer
RONALD ALLAN POE a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR. VS. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
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, 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.
Whether or not may the widow substitute/intervene for the protestant who died during the pendency of the latter’s protest case.
No. 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.
Gador vs Commission on Elections
G.R. No. L-52365
January 22, 1980
The petition alleges that the petitioner is a candidate for the Office of Mayor of the City of Ozamiz as Independent this coming January 30, 1980 local election. He filed his certificate of candidacy with the Election Registrar of Ozamis City on January 7, 1980 because of the news in the Bulletin Today. The said news stated that the respondent COMELEC issued a resolution for the extension of time for filing COC. However, the President denied said resolution. Therefore, respondent COMELEC informed the petitioner that his name might not be included in the list of candidates for mayor because of the said incident. Thus, this petition.
Whether or not the certificate of candidacy of the petitioner which was filed on January 7, 1980 is valid.
No. A certificate of candidacy filed beyond reglementary period is void. Section 7, Batasang Pambansa Bilang 52, provides that “The sworn certificate of candidacy shall be filed in triplicate not later than January 4, 1980.” It is a fact admitted by the petitioner that the President had not extended the period within which to file the certificate of candidacy.
This Court is powerless to grant the remedy prayed for in the petition. Having been filed beyond January 4, 1980, the certificate of candidacy of the petitioner is void.
Romualdez Marcos vs. Commission on Elections
Petitioner Imelda Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte. Private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo, a candidate for the same position, filed a petition for cancellation and disqualification with the COMELEC alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional requirement for residency. Private respondent contended that petitioner lacked the Constitution’s one-year residency requirement for candidates for the House of Representatives.
Whether or not petitioner has satisfied the residency requirement as mandated by Art. VI, Sec. 6 of the Constitution.
Yes. For election purposes, residence is used synonymously with domicile. The Court upheld the qualification of petitioner, despite her own declaration in her certificate of candidacy that she had resided in the district for only 7 months, because of the following: (a) a minor follows the domicile of her parents; Tacloban became petitioner’s domicile of origin by operation of law when her father brought the family to Leyte; (b) domicile of origin is lost only when there is actual removal or change of domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former residence and establishing a new one, and acts which correspond with the purpose; in the absence of clear and positive proof of the concurrence of all these, the domicile of origin should be deemed to continue; (c) the wife does not automatically gain the husband’s domicile because the term “residence” in Civil Law does not mean the same thing in Political Law; when petitioner married President Marcos in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new home, not a domicilium necessarium; (d) even assuming that she gained a new domicile after her marriage and acquired the right to choose a new one only after her husband died, her acts following her return to the country clearly indicate that she chose Tacloban, her domicile of origin, as her domicile of choice
Frivaldo vs COMELEC
Frivaldo, J. was elected as a Governor of the province of Sorsogon on January 22, 1988. On October 27, 1988 the League of Cities of Sorsogon President Salvador Estuye filed a petition to COMELEC requesting to disqualify Frivaldo from his office on the grounds that he was a naturalized citizen of the United States of America. Frivaldo was naturalized as an American citizen in Januray 20, 1983. Frivaldo admitted but said that he was only forced to do so since the time of Marcos regime he was considered as an enemy and he went to USA seeking refuge and his naturalization is not impressed with voluntariness as he went back after the Marcos Regime to the country to help the restoration of democracy. He implies that he reacquired his Philippine citizenship by participating in the election. The case was approved by COMELEC and motion to dismiss filed by Frivaldo was denied to which Frivaldo filed a motion for certiorari and prohibition to the court.
Whether or not Juan G. Frivaldo was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his election on January 18, 1988.
No. Petition denied, Juan G. Frivaldo is not a citizen of the Philippines and disqualified from serving as the Governor of the Province of Sorsogon, vacancy shall be filled by the elected Vice-Governor. Local Government Code section 42 indicates that a candidate for local elective office must be a citizen of the Philippines and a qualified voter of the constituency where is running. - Omnibus Election Code section 117 states that a qualified voter, among other qualifications, must be a citizen of the Philippines. The Court rules that Frivaldo was not a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his election as the evidence shown from the certification of US District Court of North California stating that he is a citizen of the Philippines. Frivaldo’s argument that he reacquire his Philippine citizenship through the participation in the election which in his view repatriated him to which the Court refutes that there are proper methods to which one can reacquire citizen ship either through Direct Act of Congress, Naturalization or Repatriation to which Frivaldo did not access to. Only citizens of the Philippines which have one allegiance can run in local elective office.
EFREN ARATEA v. COMELEC
G.R. No. 195229, October 9, 2012
Romeo D. Lonzanida (Lonzanida) and Estela D. Antipolo (Antipolo) were candidates for Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales in the May 2010 National and Local Elections. Dra. Sigrid S. Rodolfo (Rodolfo) filed a petition under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code to disqualify Lonzanida and to deny due course or to cancel Lonzanida’s certificate of candidacy on the ground that Lonzanida was elected, and had served, as mayor of San Antonio, Zambales for four (4) consecutive terms immediately prior to the term for the May 2010 elections. The COMELEC Second Division rendered a Resolutionon 18 February 2010 cancelling Lonzanida’s certificate of candidacy. Lonzanida’s motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC En Banc remained pending during the May 2010 elections. Lonzanida and Efren Racel Aratea (Aratea) garnered the highest number of votes and were respectively proclaimed Mayor and Vice-Mayor.
However, DILG stated that Lonzanida was disqualified to hold office by reason of his criminal conviction, Lonzanida had been convicted by final judgment of 10 counts of falsification under the Revised Penal Code, and as a consequence, his office was deemed permanently vacant, and thus, Aratea should assume the Office of the Mayor in an acting capacity without prejudice to the COMELEC’s resolution of Lonzanida’s motion for reconsideration. In another letter dated 6 August 2010, Aratea requested the DILG to allow him to take the oath of office as Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales. In his response, then Secretary Jesse M. Robredo allowed Aratea to take an oath of office as "the permanent Municipal Mayor of San Antonio, Zambales without prejudice however to the outcome of the cases pending before the COMELEC.
Who is qualified to hold the office of the mayor, Estela Antipolo, “the alleged second placer” or Efren Aratea, the winning Vice-Mayor.
Antipolo, the alleged "second placer," should be proclaimed Mayor because Lonzanida’s certificate of candidacy was void ab initio. In short, Lonzanida was never a candidate at all. All votes for Lonzanida were stray votes. Thus, Antipolo, the only qualified candidate, garnered the highest number of votes for the position of Mayor. Whether his certificate of candidacy is cancelled before or after the elections is immaterial because the cancellation on such ground means he was never a candidate from the very beginning, his certificate of candidacy being void ab initio. There was only one qualified candidate for Mayor in the May 2010 elections. Thus, Antipolo, the only qualified candidate, garnered the highest number of votes for the position of Mayor. Sec. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. ‒ The certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing it is announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said office. On the other hand, under Article 32 of the Revised Penal Code, perpetual special disqualification means that "the offender shall not be permitted to hold any public office during the period of his disqualification,” which is perpetually. Both temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification constitute ineligibilities to hold elective public office. A person suffering from these ineligibilities is ineligible to run for elective public office and commits a false material representation if he states in his certificate of candidacy that he is eligible to so run.
LBP vs COMELEC
The General Counsel of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), a registered political party, informed the COMELEC by way of Manifestation that only the Party Chairman, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, or his authorized representative may endorse the certificate of candidacy of the party’s official candidates. The same Manifestation stated that Sen. Angara had placed the LDP Secretary General, Representative Agapito A. Aquino, on “indefinite forced leave.” In the meantime, Ambassador Enrique A. Zaldivar was designated Acting Secretary General. However, Rep. Aquino filed his Comment, contending that the Party Chairman does not have the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions on the Secretary General. As the Manifestation filed by the LDP General Counsel has no basis, Rep. Aquino asked the COMELEC to disregard the same.
Whether or not the ascertainment of the identity of the political party and its officers is within the COMELEC’s jurisdiction.
The COMELEC correctly stated that “the ascertainment of the identity of [a] political party and its legitimate officers” is a matter that is well within its authority. The source of this authority is no other than the fundamental law itself, which vests upon the COMELEC the power and function to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. In the exercise of such power and in the discharge of such function, the Commission is endowed with ample “wherewithal” and “considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will ensure the accomplishment of the great objectives for which it was created to promote free, orderly and honest elections.” However, by giving both wings’ representatives in the election committees, the COMELEC has eroded the significance of political parties and effectively divided the opposition. The purpose of according to dominant status and representation to a minority party is precisely to serve as an effective check on the majority. The COMELEC performed a disservice to the opposition and, ultimately, to the voting public, as its Resolution facilitated, rather than forestalled, the division of the minority party. The assailed COMELEC Resolution does not advance, but subverts, this philosophy behind political parties.
LUIS A. ASISTIO VS. AGUIRRE
GR No. 191124 April 27, 2010
On January 26, 2010, private respondent Enrico R. Echiverri filed against petitioner Luis A. Asistio a Petition for Exclusion before the MeTC, Branch 52, Caloocan City alleging that Asistio is not a resident of Caloocan City, specifically not of 123 Interior P. Zamora St., Barangay 15, Caloocan City, the address stated in his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for Mayor in the 2010 Elections. Upon verification by private respondent, petitioner was listed as a registered voter of Baranggay 15 but his declared address , in truth, falls under Baranggay 17 where he is not listed in the CVL. On January 28, 2010, the MeTC issued a Notice of Hearing notifying Asistio, through his counsel of the scheduled hearings of the case. Asistio filed his Answer alleging that he is a resident of No. 116, P. Zamora St., Caloocan City, and a registered voter of Precinct No. 1811A because he mistakenly relied on the address stated in the contract of lease with Angelina Tengco which was 123 Interior P. Zamora St., Barangay 15, Caloocan City. Trial on the merits ensued and on February 5, 2010, Judge Malabaguio rendered a decision directing removal of the name of LUIS AQUINO ASISTIO from the list of permanent voters of Caloocan City. An appeal to the MeTC decision was made as it would deprive Asistio of his right to vote . Echiverri, however, filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal, arguing that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the Appeal on the ground of failure to file the required appeal fees; petitioner having paid his docket fee only on February 11, 2010 which was not simultaneous with the filing of his notice of appeal on February 10, 2010 . RTC granted the motion of Echiverri to dismiss Asistio’s appeal of the MeTC decision on the ground of non-payment of the required docket fees.
Whether or not Asistio should be excluded from the permanent list of voters of [Precinct 1811A] of Caloocan City for failure to comply with the residency required by law evidenced by the declaration of a false or non- existent address.
No.Section 117 of The Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Bilang 881) echoed in Section 9 of The Voters Registration Act of 1996 (Republic Act No. 8189) states the qualifications of a voter. From these provisions, the residency requirement of a voter is at least one (1) year residence in the Philippines and at least six (6) months in the place where the person proposes or intends to vote.
"Residence," as used in the law is doctrinally settled to mean "domicile," importing not only an intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention inferable from a person’s acts, activities, and utterances Domicile is not easily lost.
To successfully effect a transfer thereof, one must demonstrate: (1) an actual removal or change of domicile; (2) a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one; and (3) acts which correspond with that purpose. As to the payment of docket fees, the Court observes, that while Judge Aguirre declares in her Order that the appellate docket fees were paid only on February 11, 2010 , she conveniently omits to mention that the postal money orders obtained by Asistio for the purpose were purchased on February 10, 2010. To the court, Asistio, by purchasing the postal money orders for the purpose of paying the appellate docket fees on February 10, 2010, although they were tendered to the MeTC only on February 11, 2010 already meant substantial compliance with the procedural requirements in filing his appeal. Asistio has always been a resident of Caloocan City since his birth or for more than 72 years and his family is known to be among the prominent political families in Caloocan City. In fact, Asistio served in public office as representative, having been elected as such in the 1992, 1995, 1998, and 2004 elections. In 2007, he also sought election as City Mayor. In all of these occasions, Asistio cast his vote in the same city.
Taking these circumstances into consideration, it cannot be denied that Asistio has qualified, and continues to qualify, as a voter of Caloocan City. There is no showing that he has established domicile elsewhere, or that he had consciously and voluntarily abandoned his residence in Caloocan City. He should, therefore, remain in the list of permanent registered voters of Precinct No. 1811A, Barangay 15, Caloocan City. That Asistio allegedly indicated in his COC for Mayor, both for the 2007 and 2010 elections, a non-existent or false address, or that he could not be physically found in the address he indicated when he registered as a voter do not serve as proof that he has abandoned his domicile or that he has established residence outside of Caloocan City. The SC granted Asistio’s petition to reverse and set aside the February 5, 2010 decision of the Caloocan City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 52, and the February 15, 2010 order of the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court (RTC). Asistio remains a registered voter of Precinct No. 1811A, Barangay 15, Caloocan City.
MAQUILING vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
Arnado was a natural born Filipino citizen but lost his citizenship upon naturalization as citizen of United States of America. Sometime in 2008 and 2009, his repatriation was granted, and he subsequently executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of foreign citizenship. In November 2009, Arnando filed for a certificate of candidacy and won the said election. But prior from his declaration as winner, a pending action for disqualification was filed by Balua, one of the contenders for the position. Balua alleged that Arnando was not a citizen of the Philippines, with a certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration that Arnando’s nationality is USA-American and a certified true copy of computer-generated travel record that he has been using his American passport even after renunciation of American citizenship. A division of the COMELEC ruled against Arnando but this decision was reversed by the COMELEC en Banc stating that continued use of foreign passport is not one of the grounds provided for under Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 63 through which Philippine citizenship may be lost. Meanwhile, Maquiling petition that should be declared winner as he gained the second highest number of votes.
Whether or not continued use of a foreign passport after renouncing foreign citizenship affects one’s qualifications to run for public office.
Yes. The use of foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship is a positive and voluntary act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship; it does not divest Filipino citizenship regained by repatriation, but it recants the Oath of Renunciation required to qualify one to run for an elective position which makes him dual citizen. Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of identity that comes with attendant civil and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant duty to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country. While those who acquire dual citizenship by choice are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or appointment to public office are required to renounce their foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust. Holding public office demands full and undivided allegiance to the Republic and to no other. It is a continuing requirement that must be possessed not only at the time of appointment or election or assumption of office but during the officer's entire tenure. Once any of the required qualifications is lost, his title may be seasonably challenged. Therefore, the Court held Arnando disqualified for any local elective position as provided by express disqualification under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code. Popular vote does not cure this ineligibility of the candidate. Otherwise, substantive requirements set by the Constitution are nugatory. Furthermore, there is no second placer to speak of because as reiterated in the case of Jalosjos v. COMELEC, when the ineligibility was held to be void ab initio, no legal effect is produced. Hence among the qualified candidates for position, Maquiling who garnered the highest votes should be declared as winner.
Villaber vs COMELEC
GR NO. 148326
Both petitioner Pablo Villaber and respondent Douglas R. Cougas were rival candidate for a congressional seat in the First District of Davao Del Sur dating the May 14, 2001 elections. Villaber filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for Congressman on Feb. 1, 2001 file Cagas filed his on Feb. 28, 2001. On March 4 , 2001, Cagas filed with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor, COMELEC, Davao Del Sur, a consolidated petition to disqualify Villaber and to cancel the latter COC. Cagas alleged in the said consolidated petition that on March 2, 1990, Villaber was convicted by the RTC of Manila for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg.22 and was sentenced to suffer 1 year imprisonment. The check that bounced was in the sum of P100,00.00. Cagas further alleged that this crime involves moral turpitude; hence under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), he is disqualified to run for any public office. In his answer to the disqualification suit, Villaber countered mainly that his conviction has not become final and executory because the affirmed Decision was not remanded to the trial court for promulgation in his presence. Further, even if the judgment of conviction was already final and executory, it cannot be the basis for his disqualification since violation of B.P. Blg. 22 does not involve moral turpitude.
Whether or not violation of B.P. Blg. 22 involves moral turpitude.
Yes, violation of B.P. Blg. 22 involves moral turpitude, because its violation imports deceit and certainly relates to and affects the good moral character of a person. A drawer who issues an unfunded check deliberately reneges on his private duties he owes his fellow men or society in a manner contract to accepted and customary rule of right and duty, justice, honesty, or good morals.
FERMIN vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
Fermin filed his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for mayor of Northern Kabuntalan. Private respondent, another mayoralty candidate, filed a Petition for Disqualification against Fermin. The petition alleged that the petitioner did not possess the period of residency required for candidacy. Elections were held without any decision being rendered by the COMELEC. Dilangalen emerged as the victor over Fermin. The latter subsequently filed an election protest. On 2007, COMELEC ruled that Fermin is a resident of a barangay not a component of the local government unit in which he seeks to be elected as of May 15, 2006 and is therefore not qualified or eligible to seek election as mayor in the said municipality. In its decision, the COMELEC relied on the oath of office subscribed and sworn to before Gov. Ampatuan, in which petitioner indicated that he was a resident of Barangay Payan, Kabuntalan as of April 27, 2006.
Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abuse its discretion when it relied on a single piece of evidence to support its finding that the petitioner was not a resident
The mere filing of a petition and the convenient allegation therein that a candidate does not reside in the locality where he seeks to be elected is insufficient to effect the cancellation of his CoC. Convincing evidence must substantiate every allegation. A litigating party is said to have a prima facie case when the evidence in his favor is sufficiently strong for his opponent to be called on to answer it. A prima facie case, then, is one which is established by sufficient evidence and can be overthrown only by rebutting evidence adduced on the other side. WHEREFORE, the petitions for certiorari are GRANTED.
MERCADO vs. MANZANO
G.R. No. 135083. May 26, 1999
Ernesto Mamaril filed a disqualification case against vice-mayoralty candidate Manzano on the ground that he is not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States. In its resolution, the second division of the COMELEC granted the petition of Mamaril and ordered the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of Manzano on the ground that he is a dual citizen and, under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code and the Makati charter, persons with dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective position. The Commission found out that Manzano was born in 1955, of a Filipino father and a Filipino mother, in San Francisco, California, in the United States. Hence, he is an American citizen, following the jus soli rule, and at the same time, a Filipino citizen for being born of Filipino parents.
Manzano filed a motion for reconsideration. Pending such motion, the 1998 elections was held and Manzano garnered the highest number of votes for vice-mayor in the city of Makati. His proclamation was suspended, pending resolution of the case. Petitioner Mercado, who garnered the second highest number of votes to Manzano, intervened in the disqualification case. Without resolving Manzano's motion, the COMELEC en banc reversed the ruling of the COMELEC second division and declared Manzano qualified to run for vice-mayor. Hence, Mercado filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court seeking to set aside the resolution of the COMELEC en banc.
Whether or not dual citizenship is a ground for disqualification.
No. To begin with, dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises when, as a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states. For instance, such a situation may arise when a person whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Such a person, ipso facto and without any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of both states. Considering the citizenship clause (Art. IV) of our Constitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of the Philippines to possess dual citizenship:
(1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli.
(2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers’ country such children are citizens of that country;
(3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter’s country the former are considered citizens, unless by their act or omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine citizenship.
There may be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may, without performing any act, be also a citizen of another state; but the above cases are clearly possible given the constitutional provisions on citizenship.
Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individual’s volition.
In including §5 in Article IV on citizenship, the concern of the Constitutional Commission was not with dual citizens per se but with naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their naturalization. Hence, the phrase “dual citizenship” in R.A. No. 7160, §40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854, §20 must be understood as referring to “dual allegiance.” Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification. Unlike those with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to the termination of their status, for candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy, they elect Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition is the unavoidable consequence of conflicting laws of different states.
Under RA 9225 (effective August 29, 2003), the mere filing of a certificate of candidacy is no longer deemed an express renunciation of foreign citizenship in order to run for public office. The candidate for public office with dual citizenship must (1) take an oath of allegiance and (2) execute a renunciation of foreign citizenship.
CAASI vs CA
G.R. No. 88831
Mateo Caasi, a rival candidate of Merito Miguel filed a petition to disqualify the latter from being a candidate for the position of municipal mayor of Pangasinan on the ground that Miguel is a green card holder. On his defense: Miguel admitted that he holds a green card issued to him by the US Immigration Service, but he denied that he is a permanent resident of the United States. He allegedly obtained the green card for convenience in order that he may freely enter the United States for his periodic medical examination and to visit his children there. He alleged that he is a permanent resident of Bolinao, Pangasinan, that he voted in all previous elections. COMELEC dismissed the petition on the ground that the possession of a green card by the respondent (Miguel) does not sufficiently establish that he has abandoned his residence in the Philippines. On the contrary, inspite of his green card, Respondent has sufficiently indicated his intention to continuously reside in Bolinao as shown by his having voted in successive elections in said municipality. As the respondent meets the basic requirements of citizenship and residence for candidates to elective local officials Petitioner then appealed to CA and prays for a review of the decision, "Merito C. Miguel, petitioner vs. Hon. Artemio R. Corpus, etc., respondents," reversing the decision of the RTC which denied. The Court of Appeals ordered the RTC to dismiss and desist from further proceeding in the quo warranto case. It is pointless for the Regional Trial Court to hear the case questioning the qualification of the petitioner as resident of the Philippines, after the COMELEC has ruled that the petitioner meets the very basic requirements of citizenship and residence for candidates to elective local officials (sic) and that there is no legal obstacles (sic) for the candidacy of the petitioner, considering that decisions of the Regional Trial Courts on quo warranto cases under the Election Code are appealable to the COMELEC.
Whether or not a green card is proof that the holder is a permanent resident of the United States.
Yes. Court deems it significant that in the "Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration” which Miguel filled up in his own handwriting and submitted to the US Embassy in Manila before his departure for the United States in 1984, Miguel's answer to Question No. 21 therein regarding his "Length of intended stay (if permanently, so state)," Miguel's answer was,” Permanently.". On its face, the green card that was subsequently issued by the United States Department of Justice and Immigration and Registration Service to the respondent Merito C. Miguel identifies him in clear bold letters as a RESIDENT ALIEN. Despite his vigorous disclaimer, Miguel's immigration to the United States in 1984 constituted an abandonment of his domicile and residence in the Philippines. For he did not go to the United States merely to visit his children or his doctor there; he entered the limited States with the intention to have there permanently as evidenced by his application for an immigrant's (not a visitor's or tourist's) visa. Based on that application of his, he was issued by the U.S. Government the requisite green card or authority to reside there permanently. Section 18, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution which provides that "any public officer or employee who seeks to change his citizenship or acquire the status of an immigrant of another country during his tenure shall be dealt with by law" is not applicable to Merito Miguel for he acquired the status of an immigrant of the United States before he was elected to public office, not "during his tenure" as mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan.
The law applicable to him is Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code that states that, “Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless such person has waived his status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws.”.
GMA Network vs. COMELEC
The five (5) petitions before the Court put in issue the alleged unconstitutionality of Section 9 (a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 limiting the broadcast and radio advertisements of candidates and political parties for national election positions to an aggregate total of one hundred twenty (120) minutes and one hundred eighty (180) minutes, respectively. They contend that such restrictive regulation on allowable broadcast time violates freedom of the press, impairs the people’s right to suffrage as well as their right to information relative to the exercise of their right to choose who to elect during the forth coming elections
Section 9 (a) provides for an “aggregate total” airtime instead of the previous “per station” airtime for political campaigns or advertisements and required prior COMELEC approval for candidates’ television and radio guesting and appearances.
Whether or not Section 9 (a) of COMELEC Resolution No. 9615 on airtime limits violates freedom of expression, of speech and of the press.
Yes. The Court held that the assailed rule on “aggregate-based” airtime limits is unreasonable and arbitrary as it unduly restricts and constrains the ability of candidates and political parties to reach out and communicate with the people. Here, the adverted reason for imposing the “aggregate-based” airtime limits – leveling the playing field – does not constitute a compelling state interest which would justify such a substantial restriction on the freedom of candidates and political parties to communicate their ideas, philosophies, platforms, and programs of government. And this is specially so in the absence of a clear-cut basis for the imposition of such a prohibitive measure.
It is also particularly unreasonable and whimsical to adopt the aggregate-based time limits on broadcast time when we consider that the Philippines is not only composed of so many islands. There are also a lot of languages and dialects spoken among the citizens across the country. Accordingly, for a national candidate to really reach out to as many of the electorates as possible, then it might also be necessary that he conveys his message through his advertisements in languages and dialects that the people may more readily understand and relate to. To add all of these airtimes in different dialects would greatly hamper the ability of such candidate to express himself – a form of suppression of his political speech.