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Tales of Power

This Friday’s topic on Election Day will be a little different. We will be talking about a least known topic about elections, the powers of the Comelec. Generally, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is known to administer laws, regulations and policies relative to the conduct of elections in our country. There are also powers known as administrative and quasi-judicial.

Administrative powers refer to those that are enumerated in Article IX-C, Section 2 numbers (1), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), and (9) of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, while the quasi-judicial power is cited in the same article of the Constitution Section 2 number 2.

The administrative powers of the Comelec refer to those that are being used in the basic operations of the agency for the conduct of electoral exercises. Quasi-judicial power on the other hand, refers to the Comelec having exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of elected officials falling within its jurisdiction. In this aspect, the Comelec determines who is the proper person who must occupy any local position whenever a controversy is brought before it including appeals from cases coming from
the courts.

One of the cases we will be discussing involves a candidate for the SK Elections, Bitong (a hypothetical name) who files his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) as SK Chairman, which the Comelec motu propio, cancels for the reason that Bitong is not a registered voter of the place where he intends to run. Can the Comelec look into the qualifications of a candidate and cancel his CoC outright?

Another one involves Bitong who files his CoC for city councilor, but unfortunately, he is underage, so he is immediately substituted by his mother Mrs. Bitong. The Comelec denies said substitution and cancels Mrs. Bitong’s CoC claiming that it is as if there is no CoC that was filed at all. Is the Comelec correct?

Similarly, the third case is about Bitong filing his CoC for Vice-Mayor of a municipality but he immediately withdraws the same because he is also underage, and his sister, Bitang substitutes him. The Comelec rules that Bitong may not be validly substituted by Bitang. Is the Comelec correct this time?

The fourth case talks about Bitong filing his CoC for Punong Barangay (PB), the Election Officer refuses to accept his CoC because Bitong, allegedly, is not a voter of the place. Through a mandamus case filed by Bitong, he is allowed to run and eventually, he wins in the elections. However, in a ruling of the Comelec promulgated after the elections, the CoC of Bitong is cancelled and he is ordered to cease and desist from taking his oath and from assuming his position of PB. Given the circumstances, is there any hope for Bitong to reclaim the position?

Lastly, the fifth case is about Bitong who files a CoC for Vice-Mayor. The Election Officer receives his CoC and forwards it to the Comelec main office together with a list of candidates who are not registered voters of the municipality, and this list includes the name of Bitong. The Comelec en banc issues a resolution disqualifying Bitong and orders the filing of an election offense case against him. Bitong wins but his proclamation is suspended. Is the Comelec correct in disqualifying him?

Answers to all these questions will be discussed this Friday, September 10, 2021 at 9:00 o’clock in the morning at our Election Day segment on Regional News Group Luzon’s Morning Balitaktakan. See you.

**Any comment/s and opinion/s mentioned in this article are made by me in my personal capacity as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.

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