G.R. No. 190793 : June 19, 2012




Petitioner Magdalo sa Pagbabago (MAGDALO) filed its Petition for Registration with the COMELEC, seeking its registration and/or accreditation as a regional political party based in the National Capital Region (NCR) for participation in the 10 May 2010 National and Local Elections.

COMELEC issued its Resolution denying the Petition for Registration filed by MAGDALO where it held that Magdalo Para sa Pagbabago should be refused registration in accordance with Art. IX-C, Section 2(5) of the Constitution. It is common knowledge that the partys organizer and Chairman, Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, and some members participated in the take-over of the Oakwood Premier Apartments in Ayala Center, Makati City on July 27, 2003, wherein several innocent civilian personnel were held hostage. This and the fact that they were in full battle gear at the time of the mutiny clearly show their purpose in employing violence and using unlawful means to achieve their goals in the process defying the laws of organized societies.

MAGDALO filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was elevated to the COMELEC En Banc for resolution. MAGDALO filed a Manifestation and Motion for Early Resolution dated 23 December 2009, in which it clarified its intention to participate in the 10 May 2010 National and Local Elections as a party-list group. COMELEC En Banc denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by MAGDALO.

ISSUE: Whether or not COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it denied the Petition for Registration filed by MAGDALO on the ground that the latter seeks to achieve its goals through violent or unlawful means?

HELD: COMELECS Resolutions are sustained.


To join electoral contests, a party or organization must undergo the two-step process of registration and accreditation, as this Court explained in Liberal Party v. COMELEC:

x x x Registration is the act that bestows juridical personality for purposes of our election laws; accreditation, on the other hand, relates to the privileged participation that our election laws grant to qualified registered parties.

x x x Accreditation can only be granted to a registered political party, organization or coalition; stated otherwise, a registration must first take place before a request for accreditation can be made. Once registration has been carried out, accreditation is the next natural step to follow.

Under Article IX-C, Section 2(5) of the 1987 Constitution, parties, organizations and coalitions that "seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means" shall be denied registration. This disqualification is reiterated in Section 61 of B.P. 881, which provides that "no political party which seeks to achieve its goal through violence shall be entitled to accreditation."

Violence is the unjust or unwarranted exercise of force, usually with the accompaniment of vehemence, outrage or fury. It also denotes physical force unlawfully exercised; abuse of force; that force which is employed against common right, against the laws, and against public liberty. On the other hand, an unlawful act is one that is contrary to law and need not be a crime, considering that the latter must still unite with evil intent for it to exist.

The power vested by Article IX-C, Section 2(5) of the Constitution and Section 61 of BP 881 in the COMELEC to register political parties and ascertain the eligibility of groups to participate in the elections is purely administrative in character. In exercising this authority, the COMELEC only has to assess whether the party or organization seeking registration or accreditation pursues its goals by employing acts considered as violent or unlawful, and not necessarily criminal in nature. Although this process does not entail any determination of administrative liability, as it is only limited to the evaluation of qualifications for registration, the ruling of this Court in Quarto v. Marcelo is nonetheless analogously applicable.