Besides Poe case, what other Comelec DQ rulings did SC annul?

Reynaldo Santos Jr

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Besides Poe case, what other Comelec DQ rulings did SC annul?
Before Grace Poe's case, the Supreme Court had reversed other local cases decided by the Comelec. Get to know them.

MANILA, Philippines – Grace Poe remains a presidential contender for the May 2016 elections after the Supreme Court saved her from possible disqualification.

The SC decision on Tuesday, March 8, reversed the earlier ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which moved to cancel Poe’s certificate of candidacy due to issues of her residency.

While this may be the only instance when the High Court overruled the Comelec on a national candidate’s disqualification case, it had already done so previously in cases involving local candidates.

Listed below are just some of these local cases:

Maquiling vs Comelec, et al.
G.R. 195649 (April 16, 2013)

The SC reversed a Comelec en banc decision and decided to disqualify Mayor Rommel Arnado of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

Arnado was earlier disqualified by the Comelec’s first division after it was discovered that he still used his US passport months before the 2010 elections despite renouncing his American citizenship in 2009. The Comelec en banc, however, sided with Arnado, saying that the use of a foreign passport is not among the grounds for losing Philippine citizenship.

Rival candidate Casan Maquiling elevated the case to the SC, which voted against Arnado.

“Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced his foreign citizenship, and 30 November 2009, the date he filed his COC, he used his US passport four times, actions that run counter to the affidavit of renunciation he had earlier executed. By using his foreign passport, Arnado positively and voluntarily represented himself as an American, in effect declaring before immigration authorities of both countries that he is an American citizen, with all attendant rights and privileges granted by the United States of America,” the SC decision said.

Javier vs. Comelec, SC
G.R. 215847 (January 12, 2016)

The High Court en banc also reversed a Comelec decision that retroactively disqualified Antique Governor Exequiel Javier and annulled his proclamation in 2013.

The Comelec served the disqualification in connection with his suspension of a town mayor within the 2013 election period. Suspending any elective official during the election period without prior approval of the Comelec is prohibited under the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).

Vice Governor Rhodora Cadiao took over as Antique governor.

Javier challenged the Comelec order before the High Tribunal, which ruled that the poll body “gravely abused its discretion” when it disqualified him (Javier) based on a law provision that had already been repealed. The provision on coercion of subordinates under the OEC – the basis for disqualifying Javier – no longer existed and had been repealed by Republic Act 7890.

Abundo vs. Comelec, Vega
G.R. 201716 (January 8, 2013)

The SC nullified a Comelec division’s disqualification of Abelardo Abundo as mayor of Viga, Catanduanes due to the 3-term limit rule.

Abundo originally won in the 2010 May elections – a victory contested by opponent Jose Torres, claiming that Abundo violated the term-limit rule. The case was brought to both the poll body and to the regional trial court (RTC).

The Comelec and the RTC sided with Torres, leading to his removal from office in 2012.

The case was elevated to the High Court, which sided with Abunda. The SC explained that Abunda first became a mayor in 2001 and lost a reelection bid in 2004. He won an electoral protest that installed him in power in 2006 – just a year before the 2007 polls. He ran for reelection and won in 2007.

“The consecutiveness of what otherwise would have been Abundo’s three successive, continuous mayorship was effectively broken during the 2004-2007 term when he was initially deprived of title to, and was veritably disallowed to serve and occupy, an office to which he, after due proceedings, was eventually declared to have been the rightful choice of the electorate,” said the SC.

Munder vs. Comelec, Sarip
G.R. 194076 (October 19, 2011)

The Comelec en banc ruling that disqualified Alfais Tocalo Munder as mayor of Bubong, Lanao del Sur was nullified by the SC.

Munder, who won in the 2010 elections, was accused by opponent Tago Sarip of not being a registered voter of Bubong. Munder denied the allegations.

The Comelec second division favored Munder, but the en banc reversed the division ruling. Munder was eventually removed from public office.

He brought the case to the SC, which ruled that the poll body en banc committed “grave abuse of discretion” in its ruling. The High Court specified that Sarip filed the petition for disqualification only on April 2010.

“The Comelec Second Division stated that the last day of filing of the COCs was on 21 December 2009. Thus, the period to file a Petition to Deny Due Course or to Cancel Certificate of Candidacy had already prescribed when Sarip filed his petition against Munder,” said the decision.

Go vs. Comelec, et al
G.R. 147741 (May 10, 2001)

The SC sided with former Leyte representative Catalina Go when she objected to her disqualification by the Comelec from the gubernatorial race.

In disqualifying Go, the Comelec claimed that she filed her candidacy for both Leyte governor and Baybay mayor for the 2001 local elections – she filed her mayoral candidacy on February 27, then her gubernatorial candidacy on February 28. She then withdrew her mayoral candidacy, but it was filed 28 minutes beyond deadline.

From Leyte, the motion for withdrawal was sent to the Comelec Law Department in Manila, which forwarded the recommendation to the en banc.

In acting on the case, the SC said that Go was “deprived of procedural due process of law.”

“It did not give petitioner an opportunity to be heard. Petitioner was not required to submit a comment or opposition to the petitions for cancellation of her certificates of candidacy and/or for disqualification. It did not set the cases for hearing,” the SC ruling said. –

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