CASE DIGEST: Nicolas,Macalintal,Marcoleta


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  Nicolas-Lewis, et al. vs COMELEC (2006) (Political Law)Loida Nicolas-Lewis, et al. vs. COMELEC | G.R. No. 162759 | August 4, 2006Facts: Petitioners, who reacquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225, sought registration and certification as “overseas absentee voters” however they were advised by the Philippine Embassy in the US that as per a COMELEC letter to DFA dated September 23, 2003, they have no right yet to vote in such elections owing to their lack of the one-year residence requirement prescribed by Sec. 1, Art. IV of the Constitution.When petitioner Nicolas-Lewis clarified on said requirement, the COMELEC replied its position that the OAVL was notenacted for the petitioners and that they are considered regular voters who have to meet the requirements of residencyunder the Constitution.Faced with the prospect of not being able to vote in the May 2004 elections because of COMELEC's refusal to includethem in the National Registry of Absentee Voters, petitioners filed on April 1, 2004 a petition for certiorari andmandamus.On April 30, 2004 (a little over a week before Election Day), COMELEC filed a Comment praying for the denial of thepetition. Consequently, petitioners were not able to register let alone vote in said elections.On May 20, 2004, the OSG filed a Manifestation (in Lieu of Comment) stating that   “all qualified overseas Filipinos, including dual citizens who c are to exercise the right of suffrage, may do so,”  observing, however, that the conclusion of the 2004 elections had rendered the petition moot and academic. Issue: Must the Supreme Court still resolve said petition considering that under the circumstances the same has alreadybeen rendered moot and academic? Held: The holding of the 2004 elections had indeed rendered the petition moot and academic, but only insofar as petitioners’ participation in such political exercise is concerned. The broader and tran scendental issue tendered in thepetition is the propriety of allowing dual citizens to participate and vote as absentee voter in future elections, whichhowever, remains unresolved.The issues are thus reduced to the question of whether or not petitioners and others who might have meanwhileretained and/or reacquired Philippine citizenship pursuant to R.A. 9225 may vote as absentee voter under R.A. 9189. [Ruling on the main issue: Considering the unison intent of the Constitution and R.A. 9189 and the expansion of the scopeof that law with the passage of R.A. 9225, the irresistible conclusion is that dual citizens may now exercise the right of suffrage thru the absentee voting scheme and as overseas absentee voters.The Court granted the instant petition and held that those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under R.A. No.9225 may exercise the right to vote under the system of absentee voting in R.A. No. 9189, the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003.]    Macalintal vs COMELEC[G.R. No. 157013. July 10, 2003]Facts: A petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Romulo Macalintal, a memer of the Philippine Bar, seeking a declarationthat certain provisions of RA 9189 (The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003) suffer from constitutional infirmity. Heclaimed that he has actual and material legal interest in the subject matter of this case in seeing to it that public fundsare properly and lawfully used and appropriated, petitioner filed this petition as a taxpayer and as lawyer.R.A. No. 9 189, entitled, “An Act Providing for A System of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified Citizens of thePhilippines Abroad, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes,” appropriates funds under Section 29 thereof which provides that a supplemental budget on the General Appropriations Act of the year of its enactment intolaw shall provide for the necessary amount to carry out its provisions.Petitioner raises three principal questions for contention:That Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189 allowing the registration of voters, who are immigrants or permanent residentsin other countries, by their mere act of executing an affidavit expressing their intention to return to the Philippines,violates the residency requirement in Art. V, Sec. 1 of the Constitution;That Section 18.5 of the same law empowering the COMELEC to proclaim the winning candidates for nationaloffices and party list representatives, including the President and the Vice-President, violates the constitutional mandateunder Art. VII, Sec. 4 of the Constitution that the winning candidates for President and Vice-President shall beproclaimed as winners only by Congress; andThat Section 25 of the same law, allowing Congress (through the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee createdin the same section) to exercise the power to review, revise, amend, and approve the Implementing Rules andRegulations (IRR) that the COMELEC shall promulgate, violates the independence of the COMELEC under Art. IX-A, Sec. 1of the Constitution. Issue: 1. Whether or not Section 5(d) of R.A. No. 9189 violates Art. V, Sec. 1 of the Constitution.2. Whether or not Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 violates Art. VII, Sec. 4 of the Constitution.3. Whether or not Section 25 of R.A. No. 9189 violates Art. IX-A, Sec. 1 of the Constitution Ruling: 1. No, Sec 5(d) is valid. The Court has relied on the discussions of the members of the Constitutional Commission onthe topics of absentee voting and absentee voter qualification, in connection with Sec. 2, Art. V of the Constitution,which reads: “Sec. 2. The Congress shall provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system forabsentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.”  It was clearly shown from the said discussions that the Constitutional Commission intended to enfranchise as much aspossible all Filipino citizens abroad who have not abandoned their domicile of srcin, which is in the Philippines. TheCommission even intended to extend t o young Filipinos who reach voting age abroad whose parents’ domicile of srcin is in the Philippines, and consider them qualified as voters for the first time. That Section 2 of Article V of theConstitution is an exception to the residency requirement found in Section 1 of the same Article was in fact the subjectof debate when Senate Bill No. 2104, which later became R.A. No. 9189, was deliberated upon on the Senate floor, further weakening petitioner’s claim on the unconstitutionality of Section 5(d) of  R.A. No. 9189.2. Yes, Section 18.5 is unconstitutional. Section 18.5 of R.A. No. 9189 is far too sweeping that it necessarily includesthe proclamation of the winning candidates for the presidency and the vice-presidency, granting merit to petition er’s contention that said Section appears to be repugnant to Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution only insofar as saidSection totally disregarded the authority given to Congress by the Constitution to proclaim the winning candidates forthe positions of President and Vice-President.Congress could not have allowed the COMELEC to usurp a power that constitutionally belongs to it or, as aptly stated by petitioner, to encroach “on the power of Congress to canvass the votes for President and Vice -President and the power to proclaim the winners for the said positions.”  3. Yes, Section 25 creating the JCOC is unconstitutional. The Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. It isintended to play a distinct and important part in our scheme of government. In the discharge of its functions, it shouldnot be hampered with restrictions that would be fully warranted in the case of a less responsible organization.The Commission on Elections, because of its fact-finding facilities, its contacts with political strategists, and itsknowledge derived from actual experience in dealing with political controversies, is in a peculiarly advantageous positionto decide complex political questions.The Court has no general powers of supervision over COMELEC w hich is an independent body “except those specificallygranted by the Constitution,” that is, to review its decisions, orders and rulings. In the same vein, it is not correct to ho ldthat because of its recognized extensive legislative power to enact election laws, Congress may intrude into theindependence of the COMELEC by exercising supervisory powers over its rule-making authority. In line with this, thisCourt holds that Section 25 of R.A. 9189 is unconstitutional and must therefore be stricken off from the said law.  G.R. No. 181377 April 24, 2009RODANTE MARCOLETA v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND DIOGENES OSABELG.R. No. 181726 April 24, 2009ALAGAD PARTY-LIST, represented by DIOGENES S. OSABEL, president vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONSFacts: Due to infighting within Alagad’s ranks, Osabel and Marcoleta parted ways, each one claiming to represent the party’s constituency. For the 2007 National and Local Elections, the warring factions of Osabel and Marcoleta each filed aseparate list of nominees for Alagad at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).With Alagad again winning a part-list seat in the House of Representatives, the Marcoleta and Osabel blocs contestedthe right to represent the party in the 14th Congress. 1  Osabel, purportedly the bona fide president of Alagad, sought thecancellation of the certificates of nomination of the Marcoleta group. 2  By Omnibus Resolution 3  of July 18, 2007, the Comelec’s First Division, then composed of Commis sioners ResurreccionBorra and Romeo Brawner, resolved the dispute in favor of Osabel,The controversy was then elevated by the Marcoleta group to the Comelec En Banc which, by Resolution 4  of November 6, 2007, reversed the First Division’s Omnibus Resolution and reinstated the certificates of nomination of the Marcoleta group. In the voting, however, there were only two (2) commissioners who concurred in the Resolution while three (3)commissioners dissentedFor thus failing to muster the required majority voting, the Comelec En Banc ordered a rehearing of the controversy onNovember 20, 2007. 6  Subsequently, by Order of February 26, 2008, 13  the Comelec En Banc acknowledged that no rehearing had yet beenundertaken and reiterated the earlier order of suspension of the February 5, 2009 First Division Omnibus Resolution.The Comelec En Banc, also therein resolving the prejudicial question raised by Osabel on whether there was a necessityof a rehearing, held in the affirmative.A rehearing of the controversy between the parties was thereupon calendared for March 4, 2008. From the records, itappears that the scheduled rehearing did not push through in view of the filing in the interim of the present petitions bythe contending parties. Issue: The Court now proceeds to resolve G.R. No. 181726 filed by Alagad. The twin issues to be determined are whether theComelec En Banc committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering a rehearing of the controversy; and in suspending theimplementation of the Order of February 5, 2008 for lack of rehearing. Held: The petition fails.While at first impression, the November 6, 2007 Resolution of the Comelec En Banc seems to have affirmed the First Division’s ruling, t he said Resolution merely reflected the manner of voting of the Comelec members.
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