Ibrahim v. Comelec (G.R. No. 192289; January 8, 2013)


Petitioner Kamarudin Ibrahim (Ibrahim) filed his certificate of candidacy to run as municipal Vice-Mayor. Thereafter, respondent Rolan G. Buagas (Buagas), then Acting Election Officer in the said municipality, forwarded to the COMELECs Law Department (Law Department) the names of candidates who were not registered voters therein. The list included Ibrahims name.

Consequently, COMELEC en banc issued a Resolution dated December 22, 2009 disqualifying Ibrahim for not being a registered voter of the municipality where he seeks to be elected without prejudice to his filing of an opposition. It prompted Ibrahim to file Petition/Opposition but was denied by the COMELEC en banc through a Resolution dated May 6, 2010. In this resolution, the COMELEC declared that the Resolution dated December 22, 2009 was anchored on the certification, which was issued by Buagas and Acting Provincial Election Supervisor of Maguindanao, Estelita B. Orbase, stating that Ibrahim was not a registered voter of the municipality where he seeks to be elected.

On the day of the election, during which time the Resolution dated May 6, 2010 had not yet attained finality, Ibrahim obtained the highest number cast for the Vice-Mayoralty race. However, the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC), which was then chaired by Buagas, suspended Ibrahims proclamation. Thus, this petition.

ISSUE: Did the COMELEC en banc act with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed resolutions?

The COMELEC en banc is devoid of authority to disqualify Ibrahim as a candidate for the position of Vice-Mayor.In the case at bar, the COMELEC en banc, through the herein assailed resolutions, ordered Ibrahim's disqualification even when no complaint or petition was filed against him yet. Let it be stressed that if filed before the conduct of the elections, a petition to deny due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy under Section 78 of the OEC is the appropriate petition which should have been instituted against Ibrahim considering that his allegedly being an unregistered voter of his municipality disqualified him from running as Vice-Mayor. His supposed misrepresentation as an eligible candidate was an act falling within the purview of Section 78 of the OEC. Moreover, even if we were to assume that a proper petition had been filed, the COMELEC en banc still acted with grave abuse of discretion when it took cognizance of a matter, which by both constitutional prescription and jurisprudential declaration, instead aptly pertains to one of its divisions.

Ibrahim properly resorted to the instant Petition filed under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court to assail the Resolutions dated December 22, 2009 and May 6, 2010 of the COMELEC en banc.

Under the Constitution and the Rules of Court, the said resolutions can be reviewed by way of filing before us a petition for certiorari. What the instant Petition challenges is the authority of the MBOC to suspend Ibrahims proclamation and of the COMELEC en banc to issue the assailed resolutions. The crux of the instant Petition does not qualify as one which can be raised as a pre-proclamation controversyGRANTED.