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Digest: Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Commission on Elections (280 SCRA 892, 1997)

Digest: Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Commission on Elections (280 SCRA 892, 1997)

Facts: Special Provision No. 1 of the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) under Republic Act No. 7180, otherwise known as the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 1992 allocates a specific amount of government funds for infrastructure and other priority projects and activities. In order to be valid, the use and release of said amount would have to proceed upon strict compliance with the following mandatory requirements: (1) approval by the President of the Philippines; (2) release of the amount directly to the appropriate implementing agency; and (3) list of projects and activities.

respondent Cesar Sarino requested for authority to negotiate, enter into and sign Memoranda of Agreements with accredited Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to utilize them to projects of the CDF provided for under R.A. No. 7180. respondent Franlin Drilon, the then Executive Secretary, granted the above-mentioned request of Secretary Sarino.

respondent Tiburcio Relucio, on April 24, 1992, entered in the Memorandum of Agreement with an accredited NGO known as Philippine Youth Health and Sports Development Foundation, Inc. (PYHSDFI).

Not long after its incorporation, that is, in 1987, the PYHSDFI suspended its operations because of lack of fund donations and the migration to the United States of many of its members. The foundation became active again in October, 1991.

In order to be eligible for financial assistance, the PYHSDFI, on December 12, 1991, applied with DILG for accreditation as NGO in Accordance with the guidelines prescribed in Memorandum Circular No. 90-07, dated January 31, 1990.

the PYHSDFI approved Board Resolution No. 7, series of 1992, requesting for allocation from the governments CDF in order to implement its various sports, health, and cultural activities in specific areas in Metro Manila.  Hence, the Memorandum of Agreement dated April 24, 1992 was entered into by PYHSDFI President Catindig and DILG-NCR Regional Director Relucio. In compliance with accreditation requirements of the DILG, the PYHSDFI.

Under the said Memorandum of Agreement, it was the express responsibility of the DILG to effect the release and transfer to PYHSDFI of the amount of Seventy Million Pesos from the aggregate allocation of the CDF for complete implementation of the foundations sports, health and cultural work program.


The total amount disbursed under the CDF was P330,470,688.00. public respondent Commission on Election (Comelec) received from petitioner Kilosbayan a letter informing of two x x x serious violations of election laws. thus:

1. The documented admission of Secretary of Budget Salvador Enriquez, in the October 5, 1993 hearing of the Commission on Appointments, that the amount of P70 million was released by his department, shortly before the elections of May 11, 1992, in favor of a private entity, the so-called Philippine Youth, Health and Sports Development Foundation, headed by Mr. Rolando Puno, who had been repeatedly identified by columnist Teodoro Benigno as a key member of the Sulu Hotel Operation (SHO), which had reportedly engaged in dirty election tricks and practices in said election. x x x

2. The illegal diversion of P330 million by Malacaang from the Countryside Development Fund to Department of Interior and Local Government which disbursed this huge amount shortly before the May 11, 1992 election, as revealed by DILG Budget Officer Barata, in a hearing of Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Vicente Sotto III, held last November 22, 1993.

Issue: Whether or not the responsibility to gather evidence in a complaint before COMELEC is upon the complainant.

Ruling: Appointive government officials cannot be prosecuted for election offenses when the complainant was not able to present evidence to prove its complaint. The constitutional and statutory mandate for the COMELEC to investigate and prosecute cases of violation of election laws translates, in effect, to the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation in cases involving election offenses for the twin purpose of filing an information in court and helping the judge determine, in the course of preliminary inquiry, whether or not a warrant of arrest should be issued. The task of COMELEC as investigator and prosecutor, acting upon any election offense complaint, is not the physical searching and gathering of proof in support of a complaint for an alleged commission of an election offense. Therefore, it is still the task of the complainant to prove its allegations for the COMELEC to act on such complaint.

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