Header Ads Widget

Digest: Spouses Romualdez vs. COMELEC

Digest: Spouses Carlos S. Romualdez and Erlinda Romualdez vs. COMELEC and Dennis Garay

G.R. No. 167011       April 30, 2008


Dennis Garay filed a case alleging that petitioners made false and untruthful representations in their Voter’s Registration Record by indicating therein that they are residents of 935 San Jose Street, Burauen, Leyte, when in truth and in fact, they were and still are residents of 113 Mariposa Loop, Mariposa Street, Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City in violation of Section 10(g) and (j) in relation to Section 45 (j) of Republic Act Nos. 8189 – Voter’s Registration Act of 1996.    


Petitioners knowing fully well said truth, intentionally and willfully, did not fill the blank spaces corresponding to the length of time for residence. 


1.    A Complaint-Affidavit with a Prayer for Preliminary Investigation be conducted by the COMELEC;

2.    Petitioners filed a Joint Counter-Affidavit with Motion to Dismiss contending that they did not make any false or untruthful statements in their application for registration as evidenced by;

o   Their act of leasing a house for 5 years in the locality.

o   A Resolution of Welcome passed by Barangay District III Council of Barauen.

3.    COMELEC investigating officer issued a resolution recommending to the COMELEC Law Department the filing of appropriate information against the petitioners.

4.    COMELEC en banc filed information before RTC

5.    Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration


Petitioners contend that Section 45(j) of the Voter’s Registration Act was void for being vague as it did not refer to a definite provision of the law, the violation of which would constitute an election offense; hence, it ran contrary to Section 14(1) and section 14(2), Article III of the 1987 Constitution ( due process clause)

Nevertheless, the Commission on Election (COMELEC) Charged the petitioners with violations of Section 10 (g) and (j) , in relation to Section 45 (J) of the Voter’s Registration Act.


Section 10 of RA No. 8189:

SEC 10 – Registration of Voters. - A qualified voter shall be registered in the permanent list of voters in a precinct of the city or municipality wherein he resides to be able to vote in any election. To register as a voter, he shall personally accomplish an application form for registration as prescribed by the Commission in three (3) copies before the Election Officer on any date during office hours after having acquired the qualifications of a voter. The application shall, inter alia, contain the following data:

(g.)Periods of residence in the Philippines and in the place of registration;

(j.)  A statement that the application is not a registered voter of any precinct;


SEC 45. Election Offense. - The following shall be considered election offenses under this Act:

(j.)  Violation of any of the provisions of this Act.


Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or in excess of its jurisdiction when it premised its resolution on a misapprehension of facts and failed to consider certain relevant facts that would justify a different conclusion.



The COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion. The void-for-vagueness doctrine holds that a law is facially invalid if men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. However, this Court has imposed certain limitations by which a criminal statute, as in the challenged law at bar, may be scrutinized. This Court has declared that facial invalidation or an “on-its-face” invalidation of criminal statutes is not appropriate.

        Indeed, an “on-its-face” invalidation of criminal statutes would result in a mass acquittal of parties whose cases may not have even reached the courts. Such invalidation would constitute a departure from the usual requirement of “actual case and controversy” and permit decisions to be made in a sterile abstract context having no factual concreteness. The rule established in our jurisdiction is, only statutes on free speech, religious freedom, and other fundamental rights may be facially challenged. Under no case may ordinary penal statutes be subjected to a facial challenge.

        Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words. It is succinct that courts will not substitute the finding of probable cause by the COMELEC in the absence of grave abuse of discretion. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility.

Post a Comment