Galang, Jr. v. Judge Geronimo (G.R. No. 192793; February 22, 2011)


FACTS: Private respondent filed an election protest case against petitioner before the RTC. The court sheriff went to petitioner's residence to serve summons with a copy of the petition. The Sheriff's Return of Summons stated that the sheriff was able to serve Summons on petitioner.Petitioner, together with his then counsel of record, Atty. Abner Perez, appeared in court and requested a copy of the summons with a copy of the election protest. One of his affirmative defenses was that the electoral protest was filed out of time, since it was filed more than ten (10) days after the date of proclamation of the winning candidate.

The trial court then issued the assailed Order finding the service of Summons on petitioner as valid, and declaring the Answer filed on as filed out of time.

Petitioner then filed before the Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65, alleging that respondent judge acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in considering as valid, the Sheriff's Service of Summons. However, respondents pointed out that the petition for certiorari should not be filed with this Court but with the COMELEC.

ISSUE: Was the remedy proper?

HELD: Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC provides that “in election cases involving an act or an omission of a municipal or a regional trial court, the petition shall be filed exclusively with the Commission on Elections, in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.” Also, a petition for certiorari questioning an interlocutory order of the regional trial court in an electoral protest case is considered in aid of the appellate jurisdiction of the COMELEC. DISMISSED.