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Election Laws Cases Essay

1. Cayetano v. Monsod, 201 SCRA 210

FACTS: Monsod was nominated by President Aquino as Chairman of the Comelec. The Commission on Appointments confirmed the appointment despite Cayetano’s objection, based on Monsod’s alleged lack of the required qualification of 10 year law practice. Cayetano filed this certiorari and prohibition.

ISSUE: Whether or not Monsod has been engaged in the practice of law for 10 years

RULING: YES. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court. It embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients, and other works where the work done involves the determination of the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions (PLA vs. Agrava.)

The records of the 1986 constitutional commission show that the interpretation of the term practice of law was liberal as to consider lawyers employed in the Commission of Audit as engaged in the practice of law provided that they use their legal knowledge or talent in their respective work. The court also cited an article in the January 11, 1989 issue of the Business Star, that lawyers nowadays have their own specialized fields such as tax lawyers, prosecutors, etc., that because of the demands of their specialization, lawyers engage in other works or functions to meet them. These days, for example, most corporation lawyers are involved in management policy formulation. Therefore, Monsod, who passed the bar in 1960, worked with the World Bank Group from 1963-1970, then worked for an investment bank till 1986, became member of the CONCOM in 1986, and also became a member of the Davide Commission in 1990, can be considered to have been engaged in the practice of law as lawyer-economist, lawyer-manager, lawyer-entrepreneur, etc.

2. 18 December 1990
G.R. No. 93867
FACTS:

The petitioner is challenging the designation by the President of Associate Commissioner Yorac as Acting Chairman of the COMELEC, in place of Chariman Davide. The petitioner argues that the choice of the Acting Chairman is an internal matter to the COMELEC. It is also averred that the designation done by the President of the Philippines violates the independence of the COMELEC.

ISSUE:

Whether the designation done by the President of the Philippines violates Article IX-A, Section 1 of the Constitution.

RULING:

Article IX-A, Section 1 of the Constitution expressly describes all the Constitutional Commissions as “independent.” Although essentially executive in nature, they are not under the control of the President of the Philippines in the discharge of their respective functions. Its decisions, orders and rulings are subject only to review on certiorari by the Court as provided by the Constitution in Article IX-A, Section 7. The choice of temporary chairman in the absence of the regular chairman comes under that discretion. That discretion cannot be exercised for it, even with its consent, by the President. The designation by the President of respondent Yorac as Acting Chairman of the COMELEC is declared unconstitutiona

2. Sixto Brillantes, Jr. vs. Haydee B. Yorac[G.R. No. 93867. December 18, 1990.] FACTS: Respondent, as Associate COMELEC Chairman, was appointed by the President as Chairmanthereof, replacing former Chairman Hilario Davide; the former chairman was appointed to thefact-finding commission regarding the December 1989 Coup d etat. Petitioner moved for herremoval, stating that her appointment was contrary to Article IX-C, Section 1(2) of the 1987Constitution, where “(I)n no case shall any Member (of the Commission on Elections) beappointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.”Issue: Is respondents appointment as Chairman in the case at bar unconstitutional.Ruling: Yes. Article IX-A Section 1 of the Constitution expressly provides for the independence of theConstitutional Commissions from the executive department; this means that they are governedby the Constitution itself and cannot be under the control of the Pres.

3. UNIDO VS. COMELEC

In 1981, the BP proposed amendments to the 1973 Constitution. The amendments were to be placed to a plebiscite for the people’s approval. The YES vote was being advanced by KBL – Marcos’ Party. While the NO vote was being advanced by UNIDO. To ensure parity and equality, COMELEC issued Resolutions 1467-1469 w/c basically provided that there be equal opportunity, equal time and equal space on media use for campaigns for both sides. On 12 Mar 1981, Marcos campaigned for the YES vote via TV and radio from 9:30pm to 11:30pm.

The same was broadcasted live by 26 TV stations and 248 radio stations nationwide. UNIDO petitioned before the COMELEC that they be granted the same opportunity as Marcos has pursuant to Res’ns 1467-69. COMELEC denied the demand. UNIDO assailed the denial as a denial of equal protection before the laws. ISSUE: Whether or not UNIDO was denied equal protection by virtue of COMELEC’s denial of their request.

HELD:

The SC ruled that UNIDO was not denied due process nor were they not afforded equal protection. It is the considered view of the SC that when Marcos conducted his ‘pulong-pulong’ or consultation with the people on March 12, 1981, he did so in his capacity as President/Prime Minister of the Philippines and not as the head of any political party. Under the Constitution, the ‘Prime Minister and the Cabinet shall be responsible . . . for the program of government and shall determine the guidelines of national policy’. In instances where the head of state is at the same time the president of the political party that is in power, it does not necessarily follow that he speaks with two voices when he dialogues with the governed. The president is accorded certain privileges that the opposition may not have. Further, the SC cannot compel TV stations and radio stations to give UNIDO free air time as they are not party to this case. UNIDO must sought contract with these TV stations and radio stations at their own expense.

4. SANIDAD vs. COMELEC
181 SCRA 529

Facts: On 23 October 1989, RA 6766 (Act providing for an organic act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region) was enacted into law. The plebiscite was scheduled 30 January 1990. The Comelec, by virtue of the power vested by the 1987 Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code (BP 881), RA 6766 and other pertinent election laws, promulgated Resolution 2167, to govern the conduct of the plebiscite on the said Organic Act for theCordillera Autonomous Region. Pablito V. Sanidad, a newspaper columnist of “Overview” for the “Baguio Midland Courier” assailed the constitutionality of Section 19 (Prohibition on columnists, commentators or announcers) of the said resolution, which provides “During the plebiscite campaign period, on the day before and on plebiscite day, no mass media columnist, commentator, announcer or personality shall use his column or radio or television time to campaign for or against the plebiscite issues.”

Issue: Whether columnists are prohibited from expressing their opinions, or should be under Comelec regulation, during plebiscite periods.

Held: Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution that what was granted to the Comelec was the power to supervise and regulate the use and enjoyment of franchises, permits or other grants issued for the operation of transportation or other public utilities, media of communication or information to the end that equal opportunity, time and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information campaigns and forums among candidates are ensured. Neither Article IX-C of the Constitution nor Section 11-b, 2nd paragraph of RA 6646 (“a columnist, commentator, announcer or personality, who is a candidate for any elective office is required to take a leave of absence from his work during the campaign period”) can be construed to mean that the Comelec has also been granted the right to supervise and regulate the exercise by media practitioners themselves of their right to expression during plebiscite periods.

Media practitioners exercising their free SANIDAD vs. COMELEC

5. LAZATIN VS. COMELEC

Lazatin filed the instant petition assailing the jurisdiction of the COMELEC to annul his proclamation after he had taken his oath of office, assumed office, and discharged the duties of Congressman of the 1st District of Pampanga. Lazatin claims that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC is the sole judge of all election contests. Buan, Jr., and Timbol (Lazatin’s opposition), alleged that the instant petition has become moot and academic because the assailed COMELEC Resolution had already become final and executory when the SC issued a TRO on October 6, 1987. In the COMMENT of the Sol-Gen, he alleges that the instant petition should be given due course because the proclamation was valid. The Telex Order issued by the COMELEC directing the canvassing board to proclaim the winner if warranted under Section 245 of the Omnibus Election Code,” was in effect a grant of authority by the COMELEC to the canvassing board, to proclaim the winner.

A Separate Comment was filed by the COMELEC, alleging that the proclamation of Lazatin was illegal and void because the board simply corrected the returns contested by Lazatin without waiting for the final resolutions of the petitions of candidates Timbol, Buan, Jr., and Lazatin himself, against certain election returns. ISSUE: Whether or not the issue should be placed under the HRET’s jurisdiction. HELD: The SC in a Resolution dated November 17, 1987 resolved to give due course to the petition.

The petition is impressed with merit because petitioner has been proclaimed winner of the Congressional elections in the first district of Pampanga, has taken his oath of office as such, and assumed his duties as Congressman. For this Court to take cognizance of the electoral protest against him would be to usurp the functions of the House Electoral Tribunal. The alleged invalidity of the proclamation(which had been previously ordered by the COMELEC itself) despite alleged irregularities in connection therewith, and despite the pendency of the protests of the rival candidates, is a matter that is also addressed, considering the premises, to the sound judgment of the Electoral Tribunal.

6. JAVIER VS. COMELEC [144 SCRA 194; G.R. NOS. L-68379-81; 22 SEPT 1986]

Facts: The petitioner and the private respondent were candidates in Antique for the Batasang Pambansa in the May 1984 elections. The former appeared to enjoy more popular support but the latter had the advantage of being the nominee of the KBL with all its perquisites of power. On May 13, 1984, the eve of the elections, the bitter contest between the two came to a head when several followers of the petitioner were ambushed and killed, allegedly by the latter’s men. Seven suspects, including respondent Pacificador, are now facing trial for these murders. Owing to what he claimed were attempts to railroad the private respondent’s proclamation, the petitioner went to the Commission on Elections to question the canvass of the election returns.

His complaints were dismissed and the private respondent was proclaimed winner by the Second Division of the said body. The petitioner thereupon came to this Court, arguing that the proclamation was void because made only by a division and not by the Commission on Elections en banc as required by the Constitution. Meanwhile, on the strength of his proclamation, the private respondent took his oath as a member of the Batasang Pambansa. Issue: Whether or Not the Second Division of the Commission on Elections authorized to promulgate its decision of July 23, 1984, proclaiming the private respondent the winner in the election.

Held: This Court has repeatedly and consistently demanded “the cold neutrality of an impartial judge” as the indispensable imperative of due process. To bolster that requirement, we have held that the judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be impartial as an added assurance to the parties that his decision will be just. The litigants are entitled to no less than that. They should be sure that when their rights are violated they can go to a judge who shall give them justice. They must trust the judge, otherwise they will not go to him at all. They must believe in his sense of fairness, otherwise they will not seek his judgment. Without such confidence, there would be no point in invoking his action for the justice they expect.

Due process is intended to insure that confidence by requiring compliance with what Justice Frankfurter calls the rudiments of fair play. Fair play cans for equal justice. There cannot be equal justice where a suitor approaches a court already committed to the other party and with a judgment already made and waiting only to be formalized after the litigants shall have undergone the charade of a formal hearing. Judicial (and also extra-judicial) proceedings are not orchestrated plays in which the parties are supposed to make the motions and reach the denouement according to a prepared script. There is no writer to foreordain the ending. The judge will reach his conclusions only after all the evidence is in and all the arguments are filed, on the basis of the established facts and the pertinent law.


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