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Digest: Justimbaste v. Commission on Elections (572 SCRA 273, 2008)

Digest: Justimbaste v. Commission on Elections (572 SCRA 273, 2008)

Facts: Priscila R. Justimbaste (Priscila) filed with the Leyte Provincial Election Supervisor a petition to disqualify respondent Rustico B. Balderian (Rustico) as a candidate for mayor of Tabontabon, Leyte for falsification and misinterpretation in his application for candidacy. Rustico denied Priscila‘s allegations. Rustico won and was proclaimed as mayor. The Second Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) denied the petition for disqualification. Priscila then filed a Motion for Reconsideration to the COMELEC En Banc which subsequently denied the same.

Issue: Whether or not Rustico committed material misrepresentation and falsification in his certificate of candidacy.

Ruling: Material misrepresentation as a ground to deny due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy refers to the falsity of a statement required to be entered therein, as enumerated in Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code. Concurrent with materiality is a deliberate intention to deceive the electorate as to one‘s qualifications. Priscila asserts that private Balderian committed material misrepresentation when he stated in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen and that his name is Rustico Besa Balderian, instead of Chu Teck Siao. At all events, the use of a name other than that stated in the certificate of birth is not a material misrepresentation, as “material misrepresentation” under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code refers to “qualifications for elective office.” It need not be emphasized that there is no showing that there was intent to deceive the electorate as to private respondent‘s identity, nor that by using his Filipino name the voting public was thereby deceived. Priscila is reminded that a petition for disqualification based on material misrepresentation in the certificate of candidacy is different from an election protest. The purpose of an election protest is to ascertain whether the candidate proclaimed elected by the board of canvassers is really the lawful choice of the electorate.

Source: Law Tech World (2013). CASE DIGEST: PRISCILA JUSTIMBASTE V. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND RUSTICO B. BALDERIAN 572 SCRA 736 (2008). Retrieved May 22, 2020, from  http://lawtechworld.com/blog/blog/2013/08/case-digest-priscila-justimbaste-v-commission-on-elections-and-rustico-b-balderian-572-scra-736-2008/

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