SC affirms Comelec’s order dismissing disqualification case v Bulacan execs
THE Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissing a 2013 disqualification case filed against a mayor, a vice mayoral aspirant and a councilor in Norzagaray, Bulacan.
In a decision made public Monday, the high court through Associate Justice Jose Perez dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by defeated mayoral candidate Feliciano Legaspi against Alfredo German, Rogelio Santos Jr. and Roberto Esquivel.
Legaspi sought the disqualification of the three on the ground of rampant vote-buying.
Germar and Santos won in their respective bids, securing the positions of mayor and councilor respectively while Esquivel failed in his bid for vice mayor.
The Comelec’s Special First Division has disqualified Germar and Santos. Motions for Reconsideration were filed which resulted in a split vote.
Then, a rehearing was conducted but the Comelec en banc again failed to come up with a majority consensus.
The Comelec dismissed the disqualification case based on Section 6, Rule 18 of the 1993 Comelec Rules of Procedures.
Under the rule, “if on rehearing no decision is reached, the action or proceeding shall be dismissed if originally commenced in the Commission.”
Then, Legaspi took the case to the Supreme Court.
“Under the provision, the first effect or the dismissal of the action or proceedings only applies when the type of case before the Comelec is an action or proceeding originally commenced in the commission, the second effect or the affirmation of a judgment or order only applies when the type of case before the Comelec is an appealed case and the third effect or the denial of the petition or motion only applies when the case or matter before the Comelec is an incidental matter,” the high court said.
The high court’s ruling characterized the disqualification case and motion for reconsideration as a “fresh petition” as it passed upon no other tribunal, body or entity prior to its filing with the Comelec.
“Hence, for all intents and purposes, Comelec SPA No. 13-323 as an action originally commenced under Section 6, Rule 18 of the Comelec Rules,” it added.
The high court ruled that the failure of Comelec en banc to reach majority votes on the petition properly results in its dismissal as it further clarified that a motion for reconsideration as a “mere continuation of an existing process” and does not change the nature of the case filed.