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Digest: Domingo, Jr. v. Commission on Elections (314 SCRA 311, 1999)

Digest: Domingo, Jr. v. Commission on Elections (314 SCRA 311, 1999)

Facts: Assailed in this special civil action for certiorari are the En Banc Resolution of the COMELEC and the Resolution of the COMELEC 1st Division, which dismissed, for lack of merit, the petition for disqualification filed by Domingo against herein private respondent, the incumbent mayor of Mandaluyong City.

In May 11, 1998 elections, petitioner Ernesto Domingo, Jr. and private respondent Benjamin Abalos, Jr. (Benhur) were both mayoralty candidates of Mandaluyong City. After private respondent's proclamation, Domingo filed the instant petition for disqualification, on the ground that, during the campaign period, private respondent "prodded" his father, then incumbent Mandaluyong City Mayor Benjamin Abalos, Sr., to give "substantial allowances" to public school teachers appointed as chairpersons and members of the Boards of Election Inspector (BEIs) for Mandaluyong City.

Petitioner's allegations obtain from the “Pasyal-Aral" outing for Mandaluyong City public school teachers, then Mayor Abalos, Sr. announcing that the teachers appointed to the BEIs will each be given substantial allowances. Petitioner alleged that it was done so as to influence them into voting for him (Benhur) and ensuring his victory. Petitioner presented as evidence photographs and of the said activity, affidavits of 3 public school teachers, and videotapes showing Mayor Abalos Sr. announcing Benhur as the one responsible for such release.

Petitioner alleges that private respondent's act of "prodding" his father constitutes a violation of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, the pertinent provisions of which read:

Sec. 68. Disqualifications. — Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions; . . . shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office. . . .

In dismissing the petition for disqualification for insufficiency of evidence and lack of merit, the COMELEC 1st Division admonished petitioner and his counsel for attempting to mislead the COMELEC by making false and untruthful statements in his petition.

On reconsideration, the COMELEC, En Banc, affirmed the findings and conclusions of its 1st Division.


Whether or not Mayor Abalos Jr. violate Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code?


he petition is DISMISSED. The assailed COMELEC Resolutions dismissing the petition and affirming the proclamation of private respondent Benjamin Abalos, Jr. as duly elected mayor of Mandaluyong City, are hereby AFFIRMED

Nothing in the affidavits suggests knowledge on any degree of participation of private respondent in the grant of these allowances. The name of private respondent was not even mentioned or alluded to by any of the three affiants. The videotapes did not prove his participation therein either.

The burden of proving that private respondent indirectly influenced the public school teachers of Mandaluyong City, through his father, Abalos, Sr., was a burden that petitioner failed to meet. Neither is this burden overcome by the argument that private respondent, for himself, had "no evidence" to rebut petitioner's allegations, since the burden of proving factual claims rests on the party raising them

The complaint for election offense is a criminal case which involves the ascertainment of the guilt or innocence of the accused candidate and, like any other criminal case, requires a conviction on proof beyond reasonable doubt.

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