Late filing of election protest; dismissed

Rule 2, Section 12 (c), in relation to Sec. 7 of the same rule, A.M. No. 10-4-1-SC,[1] otherwise known as the 2010 Rules of Procedure in Election Contests before the Courts Involving Elective Municipal Officials, which provisions pertinently state:
Section 12. Summary dismissal of election contests. - The court shall summarily dismiss, motu proprio, an election protest, counter-protest or petition for quo warranto on any of the following grounds:

(a) The court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter;
(b) The petition is insufficient in form and content as required under Section 10;
(c) The petition is filed beyond the period prescribed in these Rules;
(d) The filling fee is not paid within the period for filling the election protest or petition for quo warranto; and
(e) In a protest case where cash deposit is required, the deposit is not paid within five (5) days from the filling of the protest.

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Section 7. Period to file protest or petition; non-extendible. - The election protest or petition for quo warranto shall be filed within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days counted from the date of proclamation. (emphasis added)
Jurisprudence teaches that the rule prescribing the 10-day reglementary period is mandatory and jurisdictional, and that the filing of an election protest beyond the period deprives the court of jurisdiction over the protest. Violation of this rule should neither be taken lightly nor brushed aside as a mere procedural lapse that can be overlooked. The rule is not a mere technicality but an essential requirement, the non-compliance of which would oust the court of jurisdiction over the case.[2]

[1] Promulgated on April 27, 2010.

[2] Roquero v. Comelec, G.R. No. 1281658, April 15, 1998, 289 SCRA 150; citing Asuncion v. Segundo, No. L-59593. September 24, 1983, 124 SCRA 729; Robes v. Comelec, No. L-63130, June 28, 1983, 123 SCRA 193, and Comti-Omega v. Samson. No. L-21910, November 11, 1963, 9 SCRA 493; see also Lim v. Comelec, G.R. No. 129040, November 17. 1997, 282 SCRA 53: Kho v. Comelec, G.R. No. 124033, September 25, 1997.

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