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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.