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Ang Galing Pinoy vs. Comelec (Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition)
Republic of the Philippines
Supreme Court
Manila
ANG GALING PINOY (AG), represented by its Secretary-General BERNARDO R. CORELLA JR., Petitioner, -versusTHE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. x--------------------------x
G.R. No: _____________________ For Certiorari and Prohibition with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction
PETITION
“It cannot be denied that most government actions are inspired with noble intentions, all geared towards the betterment of the nation and its people. But then again, it is important to remember this ethical principle: ‘The end does not justify the means.’ No matter how noble and worthy of admiration the purpose of an act, but if the means to be employed in accomplishing it is simply irreconcilable with constitutional parameters, then it cannot still be allowed. The Court cannot just turn a blind eye and simply let it pass.” —Biraogo vs. Truth Commission1
Petitioner Ang Galing Pinoy (AG), through the undersigned counsel, unto this Honorable Court, most respectfully files this Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and avers that: STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND MATERIAL DATES 1. This Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition seeks to annul the Resolution2 promulgated by the respondent Commission on Elections on October
1
G.R. Nos. 192935 and 193036, December 7, 2010.
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 2 of 32
31, 2012, which resolved “to CANCEL the Certificate of Registration and/or Accreditation of ANG GALING PINOY (AG) under the Party-list System of Representation.” 2. The instant Petition is being filed under the provisions of Section 7, Article IX-A of the Constitution, which provides that “any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof.” 3. Since a certified true copy of the assailed Resolution was only received by the petitioner on November 15, 2012, the thirty-day period within which to file the instant petition pursuant to Section 3, Rule 64 of the Rules of Court lapses on December 15, 2012. THE PARTIES 4. Petitioner Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) is a duly-registered party-list organization accredited through SPP No. 06-050 (PL) in an Omnibus Resolution promulgated on January 16, 2007 by the Second Division of the Commission on Elections. The petitioner’s principal address is at Unit C, Mario Paule Bldg., San Nicolas I, Lubao, Pampanga. However, for purposes of this action, the petitioner may be served summons and other processes of this Honorable Court through the undersigned counsel. 5. The respondent Commission on Elections (Comelec) may be served summons and other processes at the Office of the Clerk of the Commission, Palacio del Gobernador, Gen. Luna St. cor. Andres Soriano Jr. Ave., Intramuros, Manila.
2
A certified true copy of which is attached herewith as Annex “A.”
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 3 of 32
SUMMARY OF THE FACTS 6. The facts, chronologically-arranged for better appreciation, are as follows: 7. On May 31, 2012, the petitioner AG filed before the respondent Comelec its Manifestation of Intent to Participate in the Party-List System of Representation in the May 13, 2013 Elections.3 This Manifestation was docketed as SPP 12-256 (PLM-N). 8. On August 2, 2012, the respondent Comelec en banc, in exercise of its administrative functions, promulgated Resolution No. 9513 resolving to (1) initiate the automatic review of pending petitions for registration of new party-list groups, and (2) set for hearing the manifestations of intent to participate of already-accredited party-list groups. 9. On August 9, 2012, AG founding member and current secretary-general Bernardo R. Corella Jr. received a copy of Resolution No. 9513 together with a Notice regarding the summary hearing scheduled on August 28, 2012. As stated in Resolution No. 9513, the hearing was “for purposes of determining their continuing compliance with the requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and the guidelines in the Ang Bagong Bayani case.” 10. Meanwhile, on August 13, 2012, Kontra Daya, a group claiming to be an “election watchdog,” filed a letter-complaint seeking the disqualification of the petitioner AG on the ground, among others, that it does not represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. 11. On August 25, 2012, in compliance with the Notice that accompanied Resolution No. 9513, Corella went to the Comelec three days before the scheduled hearing to submit the evidentiary documents. However, his
Attached herewith as Annex “B.”
3
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 4 of 32
submissions were not received by the personnel of the Office of the Clerk of the Commission. Note that August 25 was a Saturday, while the Monday that followed, August 27, was a national holiday. 12. Despite his pleas with the said Office, the documents were not received on the ground that Corella was not a lawyer and that he needed counsel to accompany him for the documents to be received. Because the evidentiary documents were not received, the scheduled hearing on August 28, 2012 did not push through as far as AG was concerned.4 13. Meanwhile, knowing very well that it did not suffer from any of the grounds for cancellation of registration as a duly-accredited party-list organization, and with the Comelec granting their accreditation for the last two successive National Elections, the officers of AG just waited for the Order allowing them to participate yet again in the 2013 National Elections. 14. On October 31, 2012, the respondent Comelec en banc, in what was obviously an exercise of quasi-judicial power, promulgated the assailed Resolution resolving to cancel the registration of petitioner AG for the following reasons: “First, AG’s non-appearance during the scheduled summary evidentiary hearing showed its wanton disregard for the rules and regulations of the Commission. xxx “Second, AG does not intend to represent any marginalized and underrepresented sector evidenced by its lack of track record. xxx
Affidavit executed by Bernardo R. Corella Jr. attached herewith as Annex “C.”
4
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“Lastly, the nominees of AG do not belong to the sector that it is seeking to represent.” 15. Petitioner now comes before this Honorable Court to preserve the constitutionally-enshrined right of the sovereign people to choose their representatives in Congress through the Party-list System of Representation. ISSUES 16. The basic issues for the determination of this Honorable Court are: (1) Whether or not the respondent Comelec en banc committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it ruled on a quasi-judicial matter that is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Comelec in division; (2) Whether or not the respondent Comelec en banc committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by denying the petitioner due process when it cancelled petitioner AG’s registration based on a ground that is due to the respondent’s own arbitrary refusal to receive evidentiary documents required by Resolution 9513; (3) Whether or not the respondent Comelec en banc committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it decided to cancel the registration of petitioner AG on a ground that is not included in the exclusive enumeration of grounds for
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 6 of 32
Removal and/or Cancellation of Registration under Section 6 of Republic Act No. 7941. DISCUSSION I. JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE
The Comelec en banc has no jurisdiction to cancel the registration of a duly-accredited party-list group, such power being adjudicatory and vested exclusively in the Comelec in division 17. Going into the core of this Petition is the power of the Comelec en banc to issue the assailed October 31 Resolution cancelling accreditation of an incumbent party-list organization. 18. In the recent case of Bedol vs. Comelec,5 this Court had occasion to classify the broad powers granted to the Comelec by the Constitution and pertinent election laws. According to this Court, the three powers of the Comelec “may be classified into administrative, quasi-legislative, and quasi-judicial.” 19. Expounding on these three powers, this Court said that “The quasijudicial power of the COMELEC embraces the power to resolve controversies arising from the enforcement of election laws, and to be the sole judge of all pre-proclamation controversies; and of all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications.” 20. Meanwhile, “Its quasi-legislative power refers to the issuance of rules and regulations to implement the election laws and to exercise such legislative functions as may expressly be delegated to it by Congress.”
5
G.R. No. 179830, December 3, 2009.
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21.
Lastly, “Its administrative function refers to the enforcement and administration of election laws.”
22.
As can be gleaned from the assailed October 31 Resolution, it was issued by the respondent Comelec en banc to dispose of its “review of the continuing compliance of the Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) Party-list pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 9513.”
23.
It is correct that the Comelec en banc indeed had jurisdiction to issue Resolution 9513. However, the petitioner stresses that the Comelec en banc had no jurisdiction to issue the assailed October 31 Resolution. The reason for the difference lies in the fact that these two acts are completely different in nature, the first one being both quasi-legislative and administrative, while the second one being exclusively quasijudicial.
24.
A brief review of Resolution 9513 and how it gave birth to the assailed October 31 Resolution is necessary for better understanding of the latter’s unconstitutionality. Resolution 9513 was issued by the Comelec en banc in line with the provisions of Republic Act No. 79416 and the doctrine enunciated in Ang Bagong Bayani vs. Comelec7 to ensure that “only those parties, groups, or organizations with the requisite character consistent with the purpose of the party-list system is (sic) registered and accredited to participate in the party-list system of representation.”
25.
Having been issued under the mandate of Section 2(5) Article IX-C of the Constitution to “Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions,” the Comelec en banc indeed had jurisdiction to issue Resolution 9513 because the registration of political
6 7
The Party-List System Act. Signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on March 3, 1995. G.R. No. 147589, June 26, 2001.
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parties, organizations, and coalitions is an administrative matter and the implementation of the guidelines for the conduct of such registration is a quasi-legislative in character. 26. Resolution 9513 “set for summary evidentiary hearings by the Commission En Banc” the (1) Petitions for Registration of new party-list groups and the (2) Manifestations of Intent to Participate in the PartyList System of Representation of already-registered party-list groups. 27. For already-registered party-list groups such as AG, the summary hearings were “for purposes of determining their continuing compliance with the requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and the guidelines in the Ang Bagong Bayani case” so that the Comelec may cancel their registrations should they be found to be non-compliant. 28. While it is true that the registration of party-list groups is an administrative function that is within the province of the Comelec en banc, the matter of approving the accreditation of an applicant party for registration or the matter of cancelling the registration and accreditation as an existing party such as AG is not an administrative matter but an adjudicatory matter that the Comelec would determine in the exercise of its quasi-judicial power. 29. This is the reason why since the inception of the party-list system of representation, the Comelec had been approving Petitions for Registration of party-list groups through its divisions and NOT through the Commission en banc. 30. In fact, petitioner AG’s Petition for Registration, docketed as SPP No. 06050 (PL), was granted by the Comelec Second Division8 through an
Composed of Presiding Commissioner Florentino A. Tuason Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento and Nicodemo Ferrer.
8
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Omnibus Resolution promulgated on January 16, 2007. This is for the simple reason that the approval of a petition for registration to participate in the party-list system of representation is an adjudicatory matter that is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Comelec in division and not the Commission en banc. 31. Corollary to this, the cancellation of registration of a party-list organization is a quasi-judicial matter which cannot be decided upon by the Comelec en banc. Simple reading of the assailed October 31 Resolution shows that the Comelec exercised its adjudicatory or quasijudicial power to determine the qualification of petitioner AG to participate in the 2013 National Elections. Having been issued by the Comelec en banc, the assailed October 31 Resolution is null and void for having been issued by the respondent Comelec en banc in excess of its jurisdiction, the matter at hand being under the exclusive jurisdiction of any of the two divisions of the Comelec. 32. The rationale behind this requirement of exclusivity of jurisdiction is to afford the parties affected greater protection of due process considering that decisions or resolutions of the Comelec’s divisions are appealable to the Comelec en banc. Denying the parties the opportunity to ventilate their cause at first instance to the divisions of the Comelec and to ask for reconsideration or appeal to the Comelec en banc would deprive them due process. 33. This Court had already ruled a number of times that the Comelec exercises quasi-judicial powers through its divisions, while the exercise of its quasi-legislative and administrative powers is vested on the Comelec en banc.9
9
Balindong vs. Comelec, G.R. No. 153991, October 14, 2003.
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34.
Quasi-judicial power, as defined by this Court in Dole Philippines Inc. vs. Esteva, is “the power of the administrative agency to adjudicate rights of persons before it. It is the power to hear and determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the standards laid down by the law itself in enforcing and administering the same law.”
35.
In the above-cited case of Bedol, this Court held that the Comelec’s quasi-judicial power “embraces the power to resolve controversies arising from the enforcement of election laws, and to be the sole judge of all pre-proclamation controversies.”
36.
Thus, while it is within the administrative and quasi-legislative power of the Comelec en banc to initiate and schedule hearings to review the continuing compliance of already-accredited party-list groups with RA 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani, it is NO longer within its power to resolve whether or not these party-list groups are compliant with RA 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani.
37.
The reason is simple. When the Comelec initiated the review and scheduled hearings to determine compliance with RA 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani, it was exercising its constitutional duty to “Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions.”10 This is a power which is administrative in character.
38.
On the other hand, the determination of whether or not a party-list group complied with RA 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani is no longer administrative in nature. Such determination already falls squarely within the Comelec’s adjudicatory power because facts, evidence, and
10
Section 2(5) Article IX-C of the Constitution.
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conclusions of law would be used to reach a resolution of a party-list group’s compliance with RA 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani. 39. As this Court said in Dole Philippines Inc., “In carrying out their quasijudicial functions, the administrative officers or bodies are required to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions from them as basis for their official action and exercise of discretion in a judicial nature.” 40. Using its discretion in exercise of the aforesaid quasi-judicial power, the Comelec en banc issued the assailed October 31 Resolution to adjudicate the right—or lack thereof—of petitioner AG to participate in the 2013 National Elections. In order to arrive at a valid ruling regarding this issue, the respondent needed to hear and determine questions of fact so it may decide whether the petitioner complied with the requirements of RA 7941. 41. Clearly, the determination of whether or not the petitioner AG complies with the requirements of the Constitution and pertinent election laws fall under the exercise of the respondent’s quasi-judicial powers, which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Comelec en banc. II. DUE PROCESS ISSUE
The Comelec denied AG due process by refusing to accept the evidentiary documents that AG tried to submit as required by Resolution 9513 42. The rules governing due process in administrative bodies had already been etched in jurisprudential doctrine as early as the pre-war era through the case of Ang Tibay vs. Court of Industrial Relations.11
11
G.R. No. L-46496, February 27, 1940.
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43.
In this landmark case, the eminent Justice Jose P. Laurel laid down the following as the “primary rights which must be respected even in proceedings of this character: (1) “The right to a hearing, which includes the right to present one’s case and submit evidence in support thereof. (2) (3) (4) (5) “The tribunal must consider the evidence presented. “The decision must have something to support itself. “The evidence must be substantial. “The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. (6) “The tribunal or body or any of its judges must act on its or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy and not simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision. (7) “The board or body should, in all controversial question, render its decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reason for the decision rendered.”
44.
The assailed October 31 Resolution failed to comply with not even one of the seven (7) primary rights established by the Ang Tibay doctrine.
45.
First, the assailed October 31 Resolution did not afford petitioner AG the “right to a hearing, which includes the right to present one’s case and submit evidence in support thereof.”
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46.
While it is true that Resolution 9513 indeed “set for summary evidentiary hearings” the petitioner’s Manifestation of Intent to Participate in the Party-List System, such setting was defeated by the deliberate refusal of Comelec personnel to allow petitioner AG to submit the evidentiary documents that were required to be submitted by Resolution 9513.
47.
On August 25, 2012, AG secretary-general Bernardo Corella Jr. himself went12 to the Comelec office to submit the evidentiary requirements13 three (3) days before the scheduled hearing in compliance with Resolution 9513. However, the personnel in the Office of the Clerk of the Commission categorically refused to receive the aforesaid documents on the flimsy ground that Corella was not a lawyer and he was not accompanied by counsel. Thus, Corella was precluded from attending the scheduled summary hearings on the documentary requirements on August 28.
48.
The Comelec could thus not claim, as stated in the assailed October 31 Resolution, that “AG’s failure to appear during the scheduled summary evidentiary hearing and its failure to submit pertinent documents in relation thereto” should be considered as “sufficient grounds for this Commission to motu proprio cancel the registration of AG.”
49.
In the first place, no evidentiary requirement could be resolved in the August 28 hearing as the documents were rejected by the Office of the Clerk of the Commission when Corella tried to submit it on August 25. Thus, petitioner AG could not be faulted for “failure to submit” the evidentiary requirements when it was the Comelec itself which refused to accept the said documents.
12 13
Affidavit executed by Bernardo R. Corella Jr. attached herwith as Annex “C.” The evidentiary requirements are attached herewith as Annex “D” with submarkings.
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50.
Now, how can the assailed October 31 Resolution comply with the second, third, fourth, and fifth requirements in Ang Tibay when no evidence was ever received by the respondent?
51.
The second to fifth requirements of Ang Tibay are: “(2) The tribunal must consider the evidence presented; (3) The decision must have something to support itself; (4) The evidence must be substantial; and (5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected.”
52.
Clearly, the categorical refusal of the Office of the Clerk of the Commission to receive the evidentiary requirements that were supposed to be the subject matter of the August 28 hearing rendered futile the second to fifth requirements in Ang Tibay.
53.
The respondent Comelec en banc cannot now blame petitioner AG for failing to submit the documentary requirements when its own personnel refused to accept them for no reason at all.
54.
Further, the petitioner takes offense from the assailed October 31 Resolution’s biased conclusion that AG’s “non-appearance can only mean that it purposely ‘boycotted’ a lawful order of the Commission en banc or it is not interested in fighting for the cause of the sectors that it is seeking to represent.”
55.
The earlier discussion on the Comelec’s refusal to receive the evidentiary requirements submitted by Corella belies the respondent’s biased conclusion that the petitioner “boycotted” a lawful order of the Commission.
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56.
If there is anyone to blame for AG’s failure to submit evidentiary requirements and attend the August 28 hearing, it is no other than the Comelec itself. The party and its members should not be held to account for the respondent’s grave abuse of discretion in arbitrarily denying AG the right to submit evidence to support its continued participation in the party-list system of representation.
III.
LACK OF LEGAL BASIS
The Comelec en banc cancelled AG’s registration without any legal basis, the list of grounds for cancellation in RA 7941 and Resolution 9366 being exclusive 57. The final issue for resolution of this Honorable Court is the respondent Comelec en banc’s disregard of the provisions of our elections laws and Comelec rules in its quest of purging the party-list system of so-called sham organizations. The provisions of RA 7941 in relation to Section 2(f), Rule 2 of Comelec Resolution No. 9366 are as clear as daylight. Nowhere in the exclusive grounds for cancellation of registration can the assailed October 31 Resolution lean on for support. 58. Section 6 of RA 7941 states: Sec. 6. Removal and/or Cancellation of Registration. - The COMELEC may motu proprio or upon verified complaint of any interested party, remove or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any national, regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition on any of the following grounds: 1. It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes; 2. It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
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3. It is a foreign party or organization; 4. It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes; 5. It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections; 6. It declares untruthful statements in its petition; 7. It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or 8. It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two percentum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered.
59.
The assailed October 31 Resolution seeks refuge in the similar provisions of Section 2(f), Rule 2 of Comelec Resolution No. 9366, which provides that “The Commission may deny due course to the petition motu proprio or upon verified opposition of any interested party, after due notice and hearing, on any of the following grounds: x x x f.) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections.”
60.
According to the assailed October 31 Resolution, “AG’s failure to appear during the scheduled evidentiary hearing and its failure to submit pertinent documents in relation thereto is in violation of Comelec Resolution 9513 and under Comelec Resolution 9366, these are sufficient grounds for this Commission to motu proprio cancel the registration of AG.”
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 17 of 32
61.
Again, how can the petitioner’s failure to appear during the hearing and to submit the evidentiary documents constitute “violation of Comelec Resolution 9513” when it was the Comelec itself which refused to accept the petitioner’s submissions?
62.
As earlier stated, AG secretary-general Corella tried to submit the evidentiary requirements in compliance with Resolution 9513 but these were rejected at the Office of the Clerk of the Commission for the flimsy reason that Corella is not a lawyer. The petitioner finds this ridiculous as nowhere in Resolution 9513 is it required that the evidentiary requirements be submitted by counsel.
63.
Knowing very well that it has no valid ground to cancel petitioner AG’s registration, the respondent Comelec en banc correlated the former’s failure to submit the evidentiary requirements (which is actually the respondent’s fault) to Section 2(f), Rule 2 of Comelec Resolution No. 9366.
64.
Not only was this action a denial of due process; it is also an arbitrary exercise of the discretion entrusted to the respondent by the Constitution. Not only is it void and illogical; it is also immoral.
65.
Surely, the respondent’s actions, in line with Tanada vs. Angara,14 constitute “grave abuse of discretion” that amounts to the “capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment” that is “equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.”
The Comelec en banc violated the principle of administrative res judicata when it concluded that AG does not intend to
14
G.R. No. 118295, May 2, 1997.
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represent any marginalized or underrepresented sector based on facts and evidence already resolved in 2007 66. The second ground upon which the respondent Comelec en banc based its cancellation of petitioner AG’s registration is its baseless conclusion that “AG does not intend to represent any marginalized or underrepresented sector evidenced by its lack of track record.” 67. The assailed October 31 Resolution mentions this ground but unfortunately failed to discuss how and why it arrived at this conclusion. Plain reading of the Resolution shows that its writer merely stated the aforesaid ground, pasted excerpts from AG’s 2006 Petition for Registration and Accreditation, and then laid down the conclusion that “nowhere did it state that it is seeking to represent the marginalized and the underrepresented.” 68. It then said that “The only instance when [AG] mentioned some marginalized sectors was in its Memorandum filed before the Clerk of the Commission on November 29, 2006.” 69. The assailed October 31 Resolution also noted, based on the petitioner’s 2006 Petition for Registration, that: “AG did not categorically mention that it is seeking to represent the above-mentioned sectors. What it said is that it is conducting seminars, lectures and organizing these multi-sectoral forces. Even assuming that it indeed organized these sectors in order to represent them, it did not submit sufficient documentation to substantiate these claims. It further gave itself away when it said that it has been established since 2003 but nowhere in its record shows that it has activities and policies that championed the
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 19 of 32
plight of the sectors that it mentioned. What it just submitted are lists of its members which do not even indicate what sector/s they belong.” 70. AG’s Petition for Registration was already resolved by the Comelec Second Division way back in January 16, 2007 through Omnibus Resolution SPP No. 06-050. The Division was unanimous. 71. Clearly, respondent Comelec en banc is resurrecting whatever issues it may dig from its files five (5) years ago just to justify its assailed October 31 Resolution disqualifying AG from participating in the 2013 Elections. 72. If the respondent really wanted to cancel petitioner’s registration based on its “lack of track record,” it should not have looked into its files from five (5) years ago which only pertain to AG’s record BEFORE accreditation. Instead, the logical thing to do is to look into AG’s track record AFTER accreditation. 73. The respondent CANNOT, in the guise of “cleansing” the Party-list System, violate the principle of administrative res judicata by disturbing the Second Division’s Omnibus Resolution in SPP No. 06-050 granting petitioner AG’s registration on January 16, 2007. 74. When the Comelec Second Division disposed of SPP No. 06-050 six (6) years ago, it resolved that AG was qualified to be registered as a partylist organization based on the facts and evidence raised before the Comelec back then. That resolution already became final, executory, and immutable. The Comelec en banc CANNOT now suddenly cancel the petitioner’s registration through the assailed October 31 Resolution based on the submissions made in SPP No. 06-050 six (6) years ago.
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75.
This Court already decreed in Amistoso vs. Ong15 that “the rule of res judicata applies to final decisions of quasi-judicial agencies.” Thus, the basic rule on res judicata or conclusiveness of judgment bars the respondent from disturbing the issues and evidence touched upon by the six-year old Omnibus Resolution in SPP No. 06-050 granting the petitioner’s registration.
76.
As enunciated by this Court in Manalo vs. Court of Appeals,16 “the judgment in the first action is considered conclusive as to every matter offered and received therein, as to any other admissible matter which might have been offered for that purpose, and all other matters that could have been adjudged therein.”
77.
It is therefore grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent Comelec en banc to resurrect the facts and evidence involved in an already-final Petition of Registration and use them as basis to cancel the registration of petitioner AG. Instead, it should have used facts and evidence relevant to petitioner’s current status as a party-list organization.
78.
But of course, how can the respondent do that when it arbitrarily refused to receive evidentiary documents pertaining to petitioner’s post-accreditation accomplishments from AG secretary-general Corella on August 25, 2012?
79.
Worse, the respondent Comelec en banc even attacked the legislative record of AG’s current representative in Congress, saying: “Interestingly, its incumbent representative Mikey Arroyo authored only a single legislation pertaining to security
15 16
G.R. No. 60219, June 29, 1984. G.R. No. 124204, April 20, 2001.
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 21 of 32
guards. This bill has just gone past the first reading and was referred to the House Committee on Public Order and Safety. If one is truly an advocate, he/she is expected to exert his/her best efforts to push for legislation that will alleviate the cause of the sector/s he/she is representing. We do not know if this is just sheer laziness but to us, this is glaring lack of zeal and empathy for the plight of the truly marginalized.” 80. The petitioner is at odds as to how the respondent came up with its standard in concluding that “AG does not intend to represent any marginalized or underrepresented” just by looking at the legislative record of its incumbent congressman. History itself proves that even a twelve-year legislator who authored only a single law can be elected to the country’s highest elective office notwithstanding such dismal performance in Congress. If the sovereign people entrusted the presidency to such a mediocre legislator, then the Comelec should not deprive the same sovereign people the right to vote for a party-list group notwithstanding the legislative record of its outgoing representative in Congress. 81. Even assuming that Rep. Mikey Arroyo only authored one (1) House Bill, this should only reflect upon his performance as a legislator. The represented sector must not be made to suffer for its representative’s shortcomings by depriving the party-list group the right to be re-elected for the next elections. In the first place, the people vote for the party-list group, NOT for the nominee. Contrary to the Comelec’s twisted view, all of AG’s six nominees actually belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 22 of 32
82.
This brings us to the respondent’s third and last reason for cancelling petitioner’s registration, i.e., that “the nominees of AG do not belong to the sector that it is seeking to represent.” According to the assailed October 31 Resolution: “The first nominee, Atty. Charlie G. Chua is a lawyer and a businessman. The second nominee is Dr. Eder G. Dizon, a physician. Jerold Dominick S. David who is a businessman and an employee is the third nominee. The fourth nominee, Ryan M. Caladiao is also an employee. Its fifth nominee, Alan N. Trinidad, is a basketball coach and an employee. Its last nominee, Bernardo R. Corella, Jr., is its consultant in the House of Representatives.”
83.
The respondent then concluded that “Based on the above-mentioned list, not even one from among its nominees is a security guard, a tricycle/FX/taxi/jeepney/bus driver, a vendor, a tanod, or a small scale businessman.”
84.
To justify AG’s disqualification based on this reasoning, the respondent quoted the landmark party-list cases of Ang Bagong Bayani vs. Comelec17 and BANAT vs. Comelec.18
85.
This Court said in Ang Bagong Bayani that: “...not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. To repeat, under Section 2 of RA 7941, the nominees must be Filipino citizens ‘who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations
17 18
G.R. No. 147589. June 26, 2001. G.R. No. 179271, April 21, 2009.
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 23 of 32
and parties.’ Surely, the interests of the youth cannot be fully represented by a retiree; neither can those of the urban poor or the working class, by an industrialist. To allow otherwise is to betray the State policy to give genuine representation to the marginalized and underrepresented.” 86. Eight years later, this Court would rule in BANAT that: “It is enough that the nominee of the sectoral
party/organization/coalition belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, that is, if the nominee represents the fisherfolk, he or she must be a fisherfolk, or if the nominee represents the senior citizens, he or she must be a senior citizen.” 87. The petitioner strongly asserts that all of its six (6) nominees for the 2013 Elections are qualified to represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors in line with the doctrines laid down by this Court in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT. 88. Unfortunately, the assailed October 31 Resolution was crafted, albeit poorly, to show that neither of the nominees were qualified. 89. Firstly, the assailed October 31 Resolution listed AG chairman Ryan Caladiao as an “employee.” This is not how Caladiao actually filled up his Certificate of Acceptance. He actually wrote “employee/SG” as his occupation. By omitting “SG,” the Comelec made it appear that Caladiao does not belong to any of the sectors AG is trying to represent. The truth, however, is that Caladiao is a security guard.
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 24 of 32
90.
Secondly, the assailed October 31 Resolution contradicted itself by recognizing Charlie Chua and Jerold Dominick David as businessmen and then stating one paragraph later that the two are neither a security guard, a driver, a vendor, a tanod, or a small scale businessman. In reality, Chua and David are both small-scale businessmen who run their own local enterprises. The fact that Chua is a lawyer and David is an employee does not in any way negate the fact that they belong to the sector AG is trying to represent—small-scale businessmen.
91.
Thirdly, the assailed October 31 Resolution listed Eder Dizon as a physician, Alan Trinidad as a basketball coach/employee, and Bernardo Corella Jr. as a congressional consultant. Indeed, these three nominees filled up their respective Certificates of Acceptance with such information regarding their occupations. But this does not negate the fact that they also run their respective small-scale businesses in their locality.
92.
The fact that the nominees did not specifically write down any of the words “security guard,” “driver,” “vendor,” “tanod,” or “small-scale businessman” is of no moment as there is nothing in our election laws and regulations that require a nominee to state an occupation that matches the sector he seeks to represent.
93.
Even the Framers of the fundamental law foresaw this situation. According to Commissioner Christian Monsod, sponsor of the Party-list System during the 1986 Constitutional Convention, “Precisely, the party-list system seeks to avoid the dilemma of choice sectors and who constitute the members of the sectors. x x x ...we had the problem of who comprise the farmers. A doctor may be a farmer; a lawyer may also be a
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 25 of 32
farmer. And so, it is up to the discretion of the person to say ‘I am a farmer’ so he would be included in that sector.”19 94. Nonetheless, it is the petitioner’s submission that all of its nominees are qualified to represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors comprising AG, and the respondent should not be allowed to arbitrarily twist the wordings on the nominees’ Certificates of Acceptance to justify its bias against AG or its incumbent representative in Congress. More so, the respondent must not be allowed to re-interpret the words “marginalized” and underrepresented” just to justify its purge of the Party-list System. Prayer for the issuance of a Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order to protect the petitioner’s right to participate in the 2013 Elections pending resolution of this Petition for Certiorari 95. The petitioner repleads the allegations in this Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition to support this ancillary Prayer for the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order to enjoin the Comelec from implementing the assailed October 31 Resolution. 96. Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court provides that: “A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established: “(a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, or in requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually;
19
Records of the Constitutional Convention, Vol. 2, pages 85 to 86.
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 26 of 32
“(b) That the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or “(c) That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual.” 97. A party-list organization’s right to participate in the electoral process being in line, it is the petitioner’s submission that enjoining the respondent Comelec from implementing the assailed October 31 Resolution would not only protect its right to participate in the upcoming Elections, but would also prevent injustice in the event this Court decides in its favor. 98. There being no imaginable damage or injury that may be sustained by the respondent or the government from the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, the petitioner should therefore be exempted from the posting of bond under Section 4(b), Rule 58 of the Rules of Court. EPILOGUE 99. While the petitioner agrees with the respondent’s noble desire to rid the Party-list system of sham organizations, it cannot simply sit idly while that noble desire becomes a tool for what seems to be selective partisan hostility.
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 27 of 32
100. Recently, this Court defied popular clamor and struck down a presidential issuance that stepped on constitutionally-protected rights. As aptly said by this Court: “It cannot be denied that most government actions are inspired with noble intentions, all geared towards the betterment of the nation and its people. But then again, it is important to remember this ethical principle: ‘The end does not justify the means.’ No matter how noble and worthy of admiration the purpose of an act, but if the means to be employed in accomplishing it is simply irreconcilable with constitutional parameters, then it cannot still be allowed. The Court cannot just turn a blind eye and simply let it pass.20 101. This same wisdom is once again being called upon to save the people’s constitutionally-protected right to choose their own representatives in Congress. After all, the real essence of our democratic and republican government is that “Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”21 If the petitioner no longer enjoys the confidence of the sector that it represents, then let the people—NOT the Comelec—say so through the ballot. 102. Having been “exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility”22 against petitioner Ang Galing Pinoy, the assailed October 31 Resolution issued by the Comelec must be annulled in line with this Court’s constitutionally-expanded23 judicial power “to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
Biraogo vs. Truth Commission, G.R. Nos. 192935 and 193036. December 7, 2010. Section 1, Article II of the Constitution. 22 Yu vs. Reyes-Carpio, G.R. No. 189207, June 15, 2011. 23 Francisco vs. House of Representatives, G.R. No. 160261, November 10, 2003.
20 21
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 28 of 32
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.”24 PRAYER WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Supreme Court: 1. GIVE DUE COURSE to this Petition and immediately ISSUE a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction ENJOINING the respondent Commission on Elections from: 1.1. 1.2. IMPLEMENTING the Resolution dated October 31, 2012; CANCELLING the Certificate of Registration of the petitioner Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) under the Party-list system of Representation. 2. FURTHER, it is ultimately prayed this Honorable Supreme Court GRANT this Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition and RENDER JUDGMENT to: 2.1. ANNUL the Resolution dated October 31, 2012 of the respondent Commission on Elections; 2.2. ORDER the respondent Commission on Elections to REINSTATE the petitioner Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) in the list of parties eligible to participate in the Party-list system of Representation for the 2013 National Elections. Other reliefs that this Honorable Court would deem just and equitable are likewise prayed for.
Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution.
24
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 29 of 32
Quezon City for the City of Manila, this 28th day of November 2012. R. LAMBINO LAW FIRM Counsel for the petitioner Unit 201B Times Square Bldg. 57 Examiner St. cor. Times St. West Triangle, Quezon City 1104 Tel/Fax: (+632) 448-7551 Email: rlambinolaw@gmail.com By:
RAUL L. LAMBINO Roll No. 35291 IBP Lifetime No. 05601; 01-11-06 MCLE No. IV–0008442; 10-08-12 PTR No. 5037344; 02-15-12; Pangasinan
JOHN CARLO GIL M. SADIAN Roll No. 61635 IBP OR No. 893168; 03-13-12; Laguna MCLE pending; admitted 03-28-12 PTR No. 6673453; 04-23-12; Quezon City
VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION OF NON-FORUM SHOPPING
I, BERNARDO R. CORELLA JR., of legal age, Filipino, and with postal address at Block 10, Lot 8, Piña St., Phase I, West Camella Springville, Molino 3, Bacoor, Cavite, after having been sworn in accordance with law, hereby depose and state that: 1. I have caused the preparation and execution of the foregoing Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction to be filed before the Honorable Supreme Court.
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 30 of 32
2. I have read the same and verify that all the allegations contained therein are true, correct, and of my own knowledge and/or based on official records; 3. I have not commenced any action involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any division thereof, or any tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of my knowledge, no such other action is pending therein. If I should thereafter learn that the same or similar action has been filed or is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any division thereof, or any tribunal or quasi-judicial agency, I shall report to this Honorable Court such fact within five (5) days from such notice.
BERNARDO R. CORELLA JR. AG Secretary-General SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me, affiant BERNARDO R. CORELLA JR. presenting his Social Security System ID No. 03-5143060-4, a competent evidence of his identity bearing his photograph and signature in accordance with A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my notarial seal this 5th day of December 2012 at Quezon City, Philippines. Doc. No. _____________ Page No. _____________ Book No. _____________ Series of 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL’S CERTIFICATION
I, BERNARDO R. CORELLA JR., of legal age, Filipino, and with postal address at Block 10, Lot 8, Piña St., Phase I, West Camella Springville, Molino 3, Bacoor, Cavite, after having been sworn in accordance with law, hereby depose and state that: 1. I am the incumbent Secretary-General of Ang Galing Pinoy (AG), a dulyregistered party-list organization accredited through SPP No. 06-050 (PL) in an Omnibus Resolution promulgated on January 16, 2007 by the Second Division of the Commission on Elections;
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 31 of 32
2. During a special meeting of the National Executive Council on November 21, 2012 at the Party’s headquarters at Unit C, Mario Paule Bldg., San Nicolas, Lubao, Pampanga, at which meeting a quorum was present, the following Resolution was unanimously adopted, and is now in full force and effect: “WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED by the National Executive Council, that Ryan M. Caladiao and/or Bernardo R. Corella Jr. be authorized to cause the preparation and filing of a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition before the Supreme Court to annul and set aside a Resolution promulgated on October 31, 2012 by the Commission on Elections cancelling the accreditation of Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) as a party-list organization; “BE IT RESOLVED, FURTHER, that Ryan M. Caladiao and/or Bernardo R. Corella Jr. be authorized to sign, execute, deliver, and swear under oath, for or in behalf of Ang Galing Pinoy (AG), any or all pleadings, documents, or instruments which may be required to carry out the authority granted above;” 3. The aforequoted Resolution is in full force and effect and has not been amended, suspended, superseded, or revoked;
BERNARDO R. CORELLA JR. AG Secretary-General SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me, affiant BERNARDO R. CORELLA JR. presenting his Social Security System ID No. 03-5143060-4, a competent evidence of his identity bearing his photograph and signature in accordance with A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my notarial seal this 5th day of December 2012 at Quezon City, Philippines. Doc. No. _____________ Page No. _____________ Book No. _____________ Series of 2012
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG) vs. Commission on Elections Petition for CERTIORARI and PROHIBITION with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and/or a Writ of PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Page 32 of 32
AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE
I, JOSELITO A. SACAY, of legal age, Filipino, and with postal address at 4711 San Vicente Ferrer, Area D, Camarin, Caloocan City, after having been sworn in accordance with law, hereby depose and state that: 1. I am the Filing Clerk of R. Lambino Law Firm with office address at Unit 201B Times Square Bldg. 57 Examiner St. cor. Times St. West Triangle, Quezon City; 2. On December 6, 2012, in my aforementioned capacity, I had served copies of the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with an Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction in the case entitled Ang Galing Pinoy (AG), represented by its Secretary-General Bernardo R. Corella Jr. vs. the Commission on Elections to the following recipients: THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS Palacio del Gobernador Gen. Luna St. cor. Andres Soriano Jr. Ave. Intramuros, Manila THE SOLICITOR GENERAL Office of the Solicitor General No. 134 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City JOSELITO A. SACAY Affiant SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me, affiant JOSELITO A. SACAY presenting Passport No. XX0634309, a competent evidence of his identity bearing his photograph and signature in accordance with A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my notarial seal this December 6, 2012 at Quezon City, Philippines. Notary Public Doc. No. _____________ Page No. _____________ Book No. _____________ Series of 2012
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