Dumalao v. CoMelec

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    Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURT



    G.R. No. L-52245 January 22, 1980

    PATRCO !UMLAO, ROMEO ". GOT, an# AL$RE!O SALAPANTAN, JR., petitioners,vs.COMMSSON ON ELECTONS, respondent.

    Raul M. Gonzales for petitioners

    Office of the Solicitor General for respondent.


    This is a Petition for Prohibition with Preliminar !n"unction and#or Restrainin$ %rder filed b

    petitioners, in their own behalf and all others alle$edl similarl situated, see&in$ to en"oin respondent

    Commission on Elections 'C%ME(EC) from implementin$ certain provisions of Batas Pambansa Bi$.

    *+, *, and *- for bein$ unconstitutional.

    The Petition alle$es that petitioner, Patricio umlao, is a former /overnor of Nueva 0i1caa, who has

    filed his certificate of candidac for said position of /overnor in the forthcomin$ elections of 2anuar

    -3, +453. Petitioner, Romeo B. !$ot, is a ta6paer, a 7ualified voter and a member of the Bar who, as

    such, has ta&en his oath to support the Constitution and obe the laws of the land. Petitioner, Alfredo

    8alapantan, 2r., is also a ta6paer, a 7ualified voter, and a resident of 8an Mi$uel, !loilo.

    Petitioner umlao specificall 7uestions the constitutionalit of section 9 of Batas Pambansa Bl$. *

    as discriminator and contrar to the e7ual protection and due process $uarantees of the

    Constitution. 8aid 8ection 9 provides:

    8ec. 9. 8pecial is7ualification in addition to violation of section +3 of Art. ;! !

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    8ec ?. Terms of %ffice @ nless sooner removed for cause, all local elective officials hereinabove

    mentioned shall hold office for a term of si6 ') ears, which shall commence on the first Monda of March


    .... 'Batas Pambansa Bl$. *+) 8ec. 9.

    8ec. 9. ...

    An person who has committed an act of disloalt to the 8tate, includin$ acts amountin$ to subversion,

    insurrection, rebellion or other similar crimes, shall not be 7ualified to be a candidate for an of the offices

    covered b this Act, or to participate in an partisan political activit therein:

    provided that a $ud!ment of conviction for any of the aforementioned crimes shall be conclusive evidence

    of such fact and

    the filin! of char!es for the commission of such crimes before a civil court or military tribunal after

    preliminary investi!ation shall be prima fascie evidence of such fact.

    ... 'Batas Pambansa Bi$. *) 'Para$raphin$ and Emphasis supplied).

    8ection +. Election of certain (ocal %fficials @ ... The election shall be held on 2anuar -3, +453. 'Batas

    Pambansa, Bl$. *)

    8ection . Election and Campai$n Period @ The election period shall be fi6ed b the Commission on

    Elections in accordance with 8ection , Art. ;!!

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    hand said petitioners l$ot and 8alapantan, on the other, to have filed separate suits, in the interest of

    orderl procedure.

    >or another, there are standards that have to be followed inthe e6ercise of the function of "udicial

    review, namel '+) the e6istence of an appropriate case:, ') an interest personal and substantial b

    the part raisin$ the constitutional 7uestion: '-) the plea that the function be e6ercised at the earliest

    opportunit and '9) the necessit that the constiutional 7uestion be passed upon in order to decide

    the case 'People vs. 0era * Phil. * D+4-?).

    !t ma be conceded that the third re7uisite has been complied with, which is, that the parties have

    raised the issue of constitutionalit earl enou$h in their pleadin$s.

    This Petition, however, has fallen far short of the other three criteria.

    A. Actual case and controvers.

    !t is basic that the power of "udicial review is limited to the determination of actual cases and


    Petitioner umlao assails the constitutionalit of the first para$raph of section 9 of Batas Pambansa

    Bl$. *, 7uoted earlier, as bein$ contrar to the e7ual protection clause $uaranteed b the

    Constitution, and see&s to prohibit respondent C%ME(EC from implementin$ said provision. Fet,

    umlao has not been adversel affected b the application of that provision. No petition see&in$

    umlaos dis7ualification has been filed before the C%ME(EC. There is no rulin$ of that constitutional

    bod on the matter, which this Court is bein$ as&ed to review on Certiorari. Gis is a 7uestion posed in

    the abstract, a hpothetical issue, and in effect, a petition for an advisor opinion from this Court to be

    rendered without the benefit of a detailed factual record Petitioner umlaos case is clearl within the

    primar "urisdiction 'see concurrin$ %pinion of now Chief 2ustice >ernando in Peralta vs. Comelec, 5

    8CRA -3, 4 D+4?5) of respondent C%ME(EC as provided for in section , Art. ;!!

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    The lon$

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    A$ain upon the authorit of *eople vs. era, =it is a wellsettled rule that the constitutionalit of an act

    of the le$islature will not be determined b the courts unless that 7uestion is properl raised and

    presented in appropriate cases and is necessar to a determination of the caseI i.e., the issue of

    constitutionalit must be the ver lis mota presented.=

    He have alread stated that, b the standards set forth in *eople vs. era,the present is not an

    =appropriate case= for either petitioner umlao or for petitioners !$ot and 8alapantan. The are

    actuall without cause of action. !t follows that the necessit for resolvin$ the issue of constitutionalit

    is absent, and procedural re$ularit would re7uire that this suit be dismissed.

    !!. )he substantive viewpoint.

    He have resolved, however, to rule s7uarel on two of the challen$ed provisions, the Courts not

    bein$ entirel without discretion in the matter. Thus, adherence to the strict procedural standard was

    rela6ed in )inio vs. Mina ' 8CRA *+ D+45)I 'du vs. 'ricta '-* 8CRA 95+ D+4?3)I and in

    Gonzalez vs. &omelec'? 8CRA 5-* D+44), the %pinion in the Tinio and /on1ale1 cases havin$

    been penned b our present Chief 2ustice. The reasons which have impelled us are the paramount

    public interest involved and the pro6imit of the elections which will be held onl a few das hence.

    Petitioner umlaos contention that section 9 of BP Bl$. * is discriminator a$ainst him personall is

    belied b the fact that several petitions for the dis7ualification of other candidates for local positions

    based on the challen$ed provision have alread been filed with the C%ME(EC 'as listed in p. +*,

    respondents Comment). This tellin$l overthrows umlaos contention of intentional or purposeful


    The assertion that 8ection 9 of BP Bl$. * is contrar to the safer $uard of e7ual protection is neither

    well ta&en. The constitutional $uarantee of e7ual protection of the laws is sub"ect to rational

    classification. !f the $roupin$s are based on reasonable and real differentiations, one class can be

    treated and re$ulated differentl from another class. >or purposes of public service, emploees *

    ears of a$e, have been validl classified differentl from oun$er emploees. Emploees attainin$

    that a$e are sub"ect to compulsor retirement, while those of oun$er a$es are not so compulsoril


    !n respect of election to provincial, cit, or municipal positions, to re7uire that candidates should not

    be more than * ears of a$e at the time the assume office, if applicable to everone, mi$ht or mi$ht

    not be a reasonable classification althou$h, as the 8olicitor /eneral has intimated, a $ood polic of

    the law would be to promote the emer$ence of oun$er blood in our political elective echelons. %n

    the other hand, it mi$ht be that persons more than * ears old ma also be $ood elective local


    Comin$ now to the case of retirees. Retirement from $overnment service ma or ma not be a

    reasonable dis7ualification for elective local officials. >or one thin$, there can also be retirees from

    $overnment service at a$es, sa below *. !t ma neither be reasonable to dis7ualif retirees, a$ed

    *, for a * ear old retiree could be a $ood local official "ust li&e one, a$ed *, who is not a retiree.

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    %ut, in the case of a *elwa vs. 8alas, +5 8CRA 3 D+4I Rafael v.

    Embroider and Apparel Control and !nspection Board, + 8CRA -- D+4?I !nchon$ etc., et al. vs.

    Gernande1 +3+ Phil. ++** D+4*?). The purpose of the law is to allow the emer$ence of oun$er blood

    in local $overnments. The classification in 7uestion bein$ pursuant to that purpose, it cannot be

    considered invalid =even it at times, it ma be susceptible to the ob"ection that it is marred b

    theoretical inconsistencies= 'Chief 2ustice >ernando, The Constitution of the Philippines, +4?? ed., p.


    There is an additional consideration. Absent herein is a showin$ of the clear invalidit of the

    7uestioned provision. Hell accepted is the rule that to "ustif the nullification of a law, there must be a

    clear and une7uivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and e7uivocal breach. Courts are

    practicall unanimous in the pronouncement that laws shall not be declared invalid unless the conflict

    with the Constitution is clear beond reasonable doubt 'Peralta vs. C%ME(EC, 5 8CRA ** D+4?5,

    citin$ Cooper vs. Telfair 9 all +9I odd, Cases on Constitutional (aw, -rd ed. +49, *). (astl, it is

    within the compentence of the le$islature to prescribe 7ualifications for one who desires to become a

    candidate for office provided the are reasonable, as in this case.

    !n so far as the petition of !$ot and 8alapantan are concerned, the second para$raph of section 9 of

    Batas Pambansa Bl$. *, 7uoted in full earlier, and which the challen$e, ma be divided in two parts.

    The first provides:

    a. $ud!ment of conviction $or any of the aforementioned crimes shall be conclusive evidence of such


    The supremac of the Constitution stands out as the cardinal principle. He are aware of the

    presumption of validit that attaches to a challen$ed statute, of the well

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    E6plicit is the constitutional provision that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed

    innocent until the contrar is proved, and shall en"o the ri$ht to be heard b himself and counsel

    'Article !0, section +4, +4?- Constitution). An accusation, accordin$ to the fundamental law, is not

    snonmous with $uilt. The challen$ed proviso contravenes the constitutional presumption of

    innocence, as a candidate is dis7ualified from runnin$ for public office on the $round alone that

    char$es have been filed a$ainst him before a civil or militar tribunal. !t condemns before one is fullheard. !n ultimate effect, e6cept as to the de$ree of proof, no distinction is made between a person

    convicted of acts of dislotalt and one a$ainst whom char$es have been filed for such acts, as both of

    them would be ineli$ible to run for public office. A person dis7ualified to run for public office on the

    $round that char$es have been filed a$ainst him is virtuall placed in the same cate$or as a person

    alread convicted of a crime with the penalt of arresto, which carries with it the accessor penalt of

    suspension of the ri$ht to hold office durin$ the term of the sentence 'Art. 99, Revised Penal Code).

    And althou$h the filin$ of char$es is considered as but prima facie evidence, and therefore, ma be

    rebutted, et. there is =clear and present dan$er= that because of the pro6imit of the elections, time

    constraints will prevent one char$ed with acts of disloalt from offerin$ contrar proof to overcome

    theprima facieevidence a$ainst him.

    Additionall, it is best that evidenceproand con of acts of disloalt be aired before the Courts rather

    than before an administrative bod such as the C%ME(EC. A hi$hl possible conflict of findin$s

    between two $overnment bodies, to the e6treme detriment of a person char$ed, will thereb be

    avoided. >urthermore, a le$islative#administrative determination of $uilt should not be allowed to be

    substituted for a "udicial determination.

    Bein$ infected with constitutional infirmit, a partial declaration of nullit of onl that ob"ectionable

    portion is mandated. !t is separable from the first portion of the second para$raph of section 9 of

    Batas Pambansa Bi$. * which can stand b itself.

    HGERE>%RE, +) the first para$raph of section 9 of Batas pambansa Bilan$ * is hereb declared

    valid. 8aid para$raph reads:

    8EC. 9. Special dis#ualification. -!n addition to violation of 8ection +3 of Article ;!!'C) of the Constitution

    and dis7ualifications mentioned in e6istin$ laws which are hereb declared as dis7ualification for an of

    the elective officials enumerated in 8ection + hereof, an retired elective provincial, cit or municipal

    official, who has received pament of the retirement benefits to which he is entitled under the law and who

    shall have been * ears of a$e at the commencement of the term of office to which he see&s to be

    elected, shall not be 7ualified to run for the same elective local office from which he has retired.

    ) That portion of the second para$raph of section 9 of Batas Pambansa Bilan$ *

    providin$ that =... the filin$ of char$es for the commission of such crimes before a civil

    court or militar tribunal after preliminar investi$ation shall be prima facie evidence of

    such fact=, is hereb declared null and void, for bein$ violative of the constitutional

    presumption of innocence $uaranteed to an accused.

    8% %RERE.

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    itself in its alle$iance to the philosoph of "udicial self

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    tainted with arbitrariness and therefore is violative of the due process clause. 8uch a constitutional

    ri$ht, to 7uote from (uzon Surety &o., 2nc. v. %eson, 12is =not a mere formalit that ma be dispensed

    with at will. !ts disre$ard is a matter of serious concern. !t is a constitutional safe$uard of the hi$hest

    order. !t is a response to mans innate sense of "ustice.= 1As ri$htfull stressed in the opinion of the

    Court, the time element ma invariabl preclude a full hearin$ on the char$e a$ainst him and thus

    effectivel ne$ate the opportunit of an individual to present himself as a candidate. !f, as has beeninvariabl the case, a prosecutor, whether in a civil court or in a militar tribunal saddled as he is with

    so man complaints filed on his des& would $ive in to the all

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    Respondents claim, as accepted b the ma"orit, is that the purpose of the special dis7ualification is

    =to infuse new blood in local $overnments but the classification 'that would bar *

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    declared invalid in its application insofar as it would dis7ualif petitioner from runnin$ for the office of

    $overnor of his province.

    As aptl restated b the Chief 2ustice, =Persons similarl situated should be similarl treated. Hhere

    no valid distinction could be made as to the relevant conditions that call for consideration, there

    should be none as to the privile$es conferred and the liabilities imposed. There can be no undue

    favoritism or partialit on the one hand or hostilit on the other. Arbitrar selection and discrimination

    a$ainst persons in thus ruled out. >or the principle is that e7ual protection and securit shall be $iven

    to ever person under circumstances, which if not !dentical are analo$ous. !f law be loo&ed upon in

    terms of burden or char$es, those that full within a class should be treated in the same fashion,

    whatever restrictions cast on some in the $roup e7uall bindin$ on the rest.= 4

    >inall, this arbitrar dis7ualification is li&ewise $rossl violative of Article ;!!, sub

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    S&'ara(& O')n)on*

    "ARRE!O, J., concurrin$:

    But as re$ards the matter of e7ual protection, ! reiterate m view for Peralta that 8ec. 4'+) Art. ;! ! is

    more e6pensive than the e7ual protection clause.

    A+UNO, J, concurrin$:

    concur in the result as to para$raph ! of the dispositive part of the decision. ! dissent as to para$raph

    . !n m opinion, para$raph , section 9 of Batas Pambansa Bilan$ * is valid, bein$ similar to certain

    presumptions in Articles +? and -+* of the Penal Code, as amended b Republic Act No. 955*. 8ee

    .8. v. (ulin$, -9 Phil. ?* and People v. Min$oa, 4 Phil. 5*.

    A"A! SANTOS, J., concurrin$:

    concur but wish to add that a "ud$ment of conviction as provided in 8ec. 9, par. of Batas Pambansa

    Bi$. * should be one which is final and unappealable.

    $ERNAN!O, C.J., concurrin$.

    !t is particularl $ratifin$ that the reiteration in the abl

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    /eneral should be heard in protest a$ainst such ne$lect of rudimentar precepts. Necessaril then,

    whenever ob"ections based on refusal to abide b the procedural principles are presented, this Court

    must rule. !t would suffice if thereb the petition is dismissed for nonor petitioner,

    it amounted to a constitutional infirmit fatal in character. The wea&ness of the petition is thus

    apparent. No decision of this Tribunal can be cited in support of such a proposition. !t would be to

    e6tend undul the concept of "udicial review if a court can roam far and wide and ran$e at will over

    the variet and diversit of the reasons, the promptin$s that ma lead a le$islator to cast his vote for

    or a$ainst a proposed le$islation. !t is not what inspired the introduction of a bill but the effect thereof

    if dul enacted that is decisive. That would be the test for its validit or lac& of it. There is this relevant

    e6cerpt from Mc&ray v. +nited States: 5=The decisions of this Court D8upreme Court of the nited

    8tates from the be$innin$ lend no support whatever to the assumption that the "udiciar ma restrain

    the e6ercise of lawful power on the assumption that a wron$ful purpose of motive has caused the

    power to be e6erted. The late Chief 2ustice Harren, who penned the opinion in +nited States v. O1

    %rien put the matter thus: =!n7uiries into con$ressional motives or purposes are a ha1ardous matter.

    Hhen the issue is simpl the interpretation of le$islation, the Court will loo& to statements b

    le$islators for $uidance as to the purpose of the le$islature, because the benefit to sound decision