Vilando vs Hret
vilando vs. hret...
vilando v. electoral tribunal (2011)
EN BANC [ G.R. Nos. 192147 & 192149, August 23, 2011 ] RENALD F. VILANDO, PETITIONER, VS. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL, JOCELYN SY LIMKAICHONG AND HON. SPEAKER PROSPERO NOGRALES, RESPONDENTS
Facts: Limkaichong ran as a representative in the 1st District of Negros Oriental. Because of this, her opponent, Paras and some other concerned citizens filed disqualification cases against Limkaichong. They alleged that Limkaichong was not a natural born citizen of the Philippines because when she was born her father was still a Chinese and that her mother, lost her Filipino citizenship by virtue of her marriage to Limkaichong’s father. During the pendency of the case against Limkaichong before the COMELEC, Election day came and votes were cast. Results came in and Limkaichong won over her rival Paras. COMELEC after due hearing declared Limkaichong as disqualified. Few days after the counting of votes, COMELEC declared Limkaichong as a disqualified candidate. On the following days however, notwithstanding their proclamation disqualifying Limkaichong, the COMELEC issued a proclamation announcing Limkaichong as the winner of the recently conducted elections. This is in compliance withResolution No. 8062 adopting the policy-guidelines of not suspending the proclamation of winning candidates with pending disqualification cases which shall be without prejudice to the continuation of the hearing and resolution of the involved cases. Paras countered the proclamation and she filed a petition before the COMELEC. Limkaichong asailed Paras’ petition arguing that since she is now the proclaimed winner, it should be the HRET which has the jurisdiction over the matter and not the COMELEC. COMELEC agreed with Limkaichong.
Issues: WON the proclamation done by the COMELEC is valid. WON the HRET already acquired jurisdiction over the case. WON Limkaichong is qualified to hold an office in the Republic of the Philippines Held: 1. The proclamation of Limkaichong was valid. Limkaichong timely filed with the COMELEC En Banc her motion for reconsideration as well as for the lifting of
the incorporated directive suspending her proclamation. The filing of the motion for reconsideration effectively suspended the execution of the COMELEC’s Joint Resolution. Since the execution of the Joint Resolution was suspended, there was no impediment to the valid proclamation of Limkaichong as the winner pursuant to Section 2, Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.
2. The HRET must exercise jurisdiction after Limkaichong’s proclamation. The SC has invariably held that once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the House of Representatives the COMELEC’s jurisdiction over election contests relating to his election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRET’s own jurisdiction begins. It follows then that the proclamation of a winning candidate divests the COMELEC of its jurisdiction over matters pending before it at the time of the proclamation. The party questioning his qualification should now present his case in a proper proceeding before the HRET, the constitutionally mandated tribunal to hear and decide a case involving a Member of the House of Representatives with respect to the latter’s election, returns and qualifications. The use of the word “sole” in Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution and in Section 250 of the OEC underscores the exclusivity of the Electoral Tribunals’ jurisdiction over election contests relating to its members.
3. Records disclose that Limkaichong was born in Dumaguete City on November 9, 1959. The governing law is the citizenship provision of the 1935 Constitution. The HRET, therefore, correctly relied on the presumption of validity of the July 9, 1957 and September 21, 1959 Orders of the Court of First Instance (CFI) Negros Oriental, which granted the petition and declared Julio Sy a naturalized Filipino absent any evidence to the contrary. Respondent Limkaichong falls under the category of those persons whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines. (Section 1(3), Article IV, 1935 Constitution) It matters not whether the father acquired citizenship by birth or by naturalization. Therefore, following the line of transmission through the father under the 1935 Constitution, the respondent has satisfactorily complied with the requirement for candidacy and for holding office, as she is a natural-born Filipino citizen.
Respondent participated in the barangay elections as a young voter in 1976, accomplished voter's affidavit as of 1984, and ran as a candidate and was elected as Mayor of La Libertad, Negros Oriental in 2004. These are positive acts of election of Philippine citizenship. The case of In re:Florencio Mallare, elucidates how election of citizenship is manifested in actions indubitably showing a definite choice. We note that respondent had informally elected citizenship after January 17, 1973 during which time the 1973 Constitution considered as citizens of the Philippines all those who elect citizenship in accordance with the 1935 Constitution.
The present petition filed by Vilando was DISMISSED. The Court affirms the March 24, 2010 Decision of the HRET declaring that Limkaichong is not disqualified as Member of the House of Representatives representing the First District, Negros Oriental.