Monday, March 19, 2012

Cagas vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 194139 January 24, 2012)

Facts: Bautista (Bautista) contested the position of Governor of the Province of Davao del Sur in the May 10, 2010 automated national and local elections. The fast transmission of the results led to the completion by May 14, 2010 of the canvassing of votes cast for Governor of Davao del Sur, and the petitioner was proclaimed the winner (with 163,440 votes), with Bautista garnering 159,527 votes. Alleging fraud, anomalies, irregularities, vote-buying and violations of election laws, rules and resolutions, Bautista filed an electoral protest on May 24, 2010. The Comelec issues orders stating that the protestant paid the cash deposit for filing of the case, and his petition set out specific acts complained of. Petitioner moved to reconsider, which was denied. Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari directly with the SC. 

Issue: Whether the Comelec erred in no dismissing the petition for insufficiency of form. 

Held: A party aggrieved by an interlocutory order issued by a Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in an election protest may not directly assail the order in this Court through a special civil action for certiorari. The remedy is to seek the review of the interlocutory order during the appeal of the decision of the Division in due course. The court may have the power to review any decision, order or ruling of the COMELEC, limits such power to a final decision or resolution of the COMELEC en banc, and does not extend to an interlocutory order issued by a Division of the COMELEC. Otherwise stated, the Court has no power to review on certiorari an interlocutory order or even a final resolution issued by a Division of the COMELEC. Where the Commission in division committed grave abuse of discretion or acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing interlocutory orders relative to an action pending before it and the controversy did not fall under any of the instances mentioned in Section 2, Rule 3 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, the remedy of the aggrieved party is not to refer the controversy to the Commission en banc as this is not permissible under its present rules but to elevate it to this Court via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

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