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    Firdausi Abbas et al vs The SenateElectoral Tribunalon January 22, 2012

    Political LawInhibition in the Senate Electoral Tribunal

    On 9 Oct 1987, the Abbas et al filed before the SET an election contest docketed against 22

    candidates of the LABAN coalition who were proclaimed senators-elect in the May 11, 1987

    congressional elections by the COMELEC. The SET was at the time composed of three (3)

    Justices of the Supreme Court and six (6) Senators. Abbas later on filed for the

    disqualification of the 6 senator members from partaking in the said election protest on the

    ground that all of them are interested parties to said case. Abbas argue that considerations

    of public policy and the norms of fair play and due process imperatively require the mass

    disqualification sought. To accommodate the proposed disqualification, Abbas suggested the

    following amendment: Tribunals Rules (Section 24) - requiring the concurrence of five (5)

    members for the adoption of resolutions of whatever nature- is a proviso that where more

    than four (4) members are disqualified, the remaining members shall constitute a quorum, if

    not less than three (3) including one (1) Justice, and may adopt resolutions by majority vote

    with no abstentions. Obviously tailored to fit the situation created by the petition for

    disqualification, this would, in the context of that situation, leave the resolution of the

    contest to the only three Members who would remain, all Justices of this Court, whose

    disqualification is not sought.

    ISSUE: Whether or not Abbas proposal could be given due weight.

    HELD: The most fundamental objection to such proposal lies in the plain terms and intent of

    the Constitution itself which, in its Article VI, Section 17, creates the Senate Electoral

    Tribunal, ordains its composition and defines its jurisdiction and powers.

    Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral

    Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and

    qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine

    Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the

    Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of

    Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional

    representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the

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    party-list system represented therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its

    Chairman.

    It is quite clear that in providing for a SET to be staffed by both Justices of the SC and

    Members of the Senate, the Constitution intended that both those judicial and legislative

    components commonly share the duty and authority of deciding all contests relating to the

    election, returns and qualifications of Senators. The legislative component herein cannot be

    totally excluded from participation in the resolution of senatorial election contests, without

    doing violence to the spirit and intent of the Constitution. It is not to be misunderstood in

    saying that no Senator-Member of the SET may inhibit or disqualify himself from sitting in

    judgment on any case before said Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as his

    conscience dictates, refrain from participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely

    feels that his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an objective and

    impartial judgment. What SC is saying is that in the light of the Constitution, the SET cannot

    legally function as such; absent its entire membership of Senators and that no amendment

    of its Rules can confer on the three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication

    of a senatorial election contest.

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    Bondoc vs. Pineda Case DigestBondoc vs. Pineda201 SCRA 792 G.R. No. 97710

    September 26, 1991

    Facts: In the elections held on May 11, 1987, Marciano Pineda of the LDP and EmigdioBondoc of the NP were candidates for the position of Representative for the FourthDistrict of Pampanga. Pineda was proclaimed winner. Bondoc filed a protest in theHouse of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), which is composed of 9 members,3 of whom are Justices of the SC and the remaining 6 are members of the House ofRepresentatives (5 members belong to the LDP and 1 member is from the NP).Thereafter, a decision had been reached in which Bondoc won over Pineda.Congressman Camasura of the LDP voted with the SC Justices and CongressmanCerilles of the NP to proclaim Bondoc the winner of the contest.

    On the eve of the promulgation of the Bondoc decision, CongressmanCamasura received a letter informing him that he was already expelled from the LDP forallegedly helping to organize the Partido Pilipino of Eduardo Cojuangco and for allegedlyinviting LDP members in Davao Del Sur to join said political party. On the day of thepromulgation of the decision, the Chairman of HRET received a letter informing theTribunal that on the basis of the letter from the LDP, the House of Representativesdecided to withdraw the nomination and rescind the election of Congressman Camasurato the HRET.

    Issue: Whether or not the House of Representatives, at the request of the dominantpolitical party therein, may change that partys representation in the HRET to thwart thepromulgation of a decision freely reached by the tribunal in an election contest pendingtherein

    Held: The purpose of the constitutional convention creating the Electoral Commissionwas to provide an independent and impartial tribunal for the determination of contests tolegislative office, devoid of partisan consideration.

    As judges, the members of the tribunal must be non-partisan. They must discharge theirfunctions with complete detachment, impartiality and independence even independencefrom the political party to which they belong. Hence, disloyalty to party and breach ofparty discipline are not valid grounds for the expulsion of a member of the tribunal. Inexpelling Congressman Camasura from the HRET for having cast a conscience vote infavor of Bondoc, based strictly on the result of the examination and appreciation of theballots and the recount of the votes by the tribunal, the House of Representativescommitted a grave abuse of discretion, an injustice and a violation of the Constitution. Itsresolution of expulsion against Congressman Camasura is, therefore, null and void.

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    Another reason for the nullity of the expulsion resolution of the House of Representativesis that it violates Congressman Camasuras right to security of tenure. Members of theHRET, as sole judge of congressional election contests, are entitled to security of tenure

    just as members of the Judiciary enjoy security of tenure under the Constitution.

    Therefore, membership in the HRET may not be terminated except for a just cause,such as, the expiration of the members congressional term of office, his death,permanent disability, resignation from the political party he represents in the tribunal,formal affiliation with another political party or removal for other valid cause. A membermay not be expelled by the House of Representatives for party disloyalty, short of proofthat he has formally affiliated with another.

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    Codilla vs. de Venecia

    G.R. no. 150605, Dec. 10, 2002

    If the validity of the proclamation is the core issue of the disqualification case, theproclamation of the candidate cannot divest Comelec en banc of its jurisdiction to

    review its validity

    Ministerial duty of the House to administer oath of office to the winning candidate

    FACTS:

    Codilla, then sitting as Mayor of Ormoc City, and Locsin, the incumbent

    Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte, were candidates for the

    position of Representative of the 4th legislative district of Leyte. A petition for

    disqualification was filed against Codilla for violating Sec. 68(a) of the Omnibus

    Election Code, alleging that he used the equipment and vehicles owned by the City

    Government of Ormoc to extract, haul and distribute gravel and sand to the

    residents of Kananga and Matag-ob, Leyte, for the purpose of inducing, influencing

    or corrupting them to vote for him.

    At the time of the elections on May 14, 2001, the disqualification case was still

    pending so Codillas name remained in the list of candidates and was voted for. In

    fact, he garnered the highest number of votes. However, his proclamation as winner

    was suspended by order of the Comelec. After hearing of his disqualification case, he

    was found guilty and ordered disqualified.

    Codillas votes being considered stray, Locsin was thus proclaimed as the duly

    elected Representative and subsequently took her oath of office. Codilla then filed atimely Motion for Reconsideration with the Comelec and also sought the annulment

    of Locsins proclamation.

    ISSUES:

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    Whether or not Comelec has jurisdiction to annul the proclamation of a

    Representative

    Whether or not it is a ministerial duty of the House to recognize Codilla as the

    legally elected Representative

    RULING:

    First. The validity of the respondents proclamation was a core issue in the Motion

    for Reconsideration seasonably filed by the petitioner.

    xxx

    Since the pe