ISSUE: Whether or not the COMELEC en banc’s affirmation of the COMELEC Second Division’s Decision is proper. RULING: No. The COMELEC en banc Resolution lacks legal effect as it is not a majority decision required by the Constitution and by the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Section 7, Article IX-A of the Constitution requires that “each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its members, any case or mat ter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution.” Pursuant to this Constitutional mandate, the COMELEC provided in Section 5(a), Rule 3 of the
423 COMELEC Rules of Procedure the votes required for the pronouncement of a decision, resolution, order or ruling when the COMELEC sits en ban: “the concurrence of a majority of the members of the Commission.” The Court previously ruled that a majority vote requires a vote of four members of the COMELEC en banc. In the present case, while the October 6, 2012 Resolution of the COMELEC en banc appears to have affirmed the COMELEC Second Division’s Resolution and, in effect, denied Sevilla’s motion for reconsideration, the equally divided voting between three Commissioners concurring and three Commissioners dissenting is not the majority vote that the Constitution and the COMELEC Rules of Procedure require for a valid pronouncement of the assailed October 6, 2012 Resolution of the COMELEC en banc. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the assailed October 6, 2012 Resolution of the COMELEC en banc had no legal effect whatsoever except to convey that the COMELEC failed to reach a decision and that further action is required. To break the legal stalemate in case the opinion is equally divided among the members of the COMELEC en banc, Section 6, Rule 18 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure mandates a rehearing where parties are given the opportunity anew to strengthen their respective positions or arguments and convince the members of the COMELEC en banc of the merit of their case. In the present case, it appears from the records that the COMELEC en banc did not issue an Order for a rehearing of the case in view of the filing in the interim of the present petition for certiorari by Sevilla. In previous cases decided by the Supreme Court, the Court remanded the cases to the COMELEC en banc for the conduct of the required rehearing pursuant to the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Based on these considerations, the Court thus find that a remand of the case is necessary for the COMELEC en banc to comply with the rehearing requirement of Section 6, Rule 18 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.
424 MARIA LOURDES B. LOCSIN v. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL AND MONIQUE YAZMIN MARIA Q. LAGDAMEO G.R. No. 204123, 19 March 2013, EN BANC (Leonen, J.) Petitioner Locsin and private respondent Lagdameo, along with three other candidates, vied for the position to represent the First Legislative District of Makati in the 2010 national elections.
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