pending appeal the petitioner occupied the position in an illegal manner as a

Pending appeal the petitioner occupied the position

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pending appeal, the petitioner occupied the position in an illegal manner as a usurper. Petitioner was not a usurper because, while a usurper is one who undertakes to act officially without any color of right, the petitioner exercised the duties of an elective office under color of election thereto. It matters not that it was the trial court and not the COMELEC that declared petitioner as the winner, because both, at different stages of the electoral process, have the power to so proclaim winners in electoral contests. At the risk of sounding repetitive, if only to emphasize this point, we must reiterate that the decision of a judicial body is no less a basis than the proclamation made by the COMELEC-convened Board of Canvassers for a winning candidate’s right to assume office, for both are undisputedly legally sanctioned. We deem petitioner, therefore, to be a “de facto officer who, in good faith, has haa possession of the office and had discharged the duties pertaining thereto” and is thus “legally entitled to the emoluments of the office.”
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Facts: Petitioner Luis Malaluan and private respondent Jose Evangelista were both mayoralty candidates in the Municipality of Kidapawan, North Cotabato. Private respondent was proclaimed by the Municipal Board of Canvassers as the duly elected Mayor with a winning margin of 706 votes. Petitioner filed an election protest with the Regional Trial Court. The trial court declared petitioner as the duly elected municipal mayor with a plurality of 154 votes. Acting without precedent, the court found private respondent liable not only for Malaluan’s protest expenses but also for moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. Petitioner filed a motion for execution pending appeal which was granted by the court. Subsequently the First Division of the Comelec ordered Malaluan to vacate the office. The Comelec en banc affirmed said decision. Malaluan filed this petition for certiorari and prohibition on May 31, 1995 as a consequence. It is significant to note that the term of office of the local officials elected in the May 1992 elections expired on June 30, 1995. This petition, thus, has become moot and academic insofar as it concerns petitioner’s right to the mayoralty seat because expiration of the term of office contested in the election protest has the effect of rendering the same moot and academic. Issue: Whether or not the Comelec gravely abused its discretion in awarding the aforecited damages in favor of private respondent. Held: The overriding requirement for a valid and proper award of damages is that the same is in accordance with law, specifically, the provisions of the Civil Code pertinent to damages. The Omnibus Election Code provides that “actual or compensatory damages may be granted in all election contests or in quo warranto proceedings in accordance with law.” Comelec Rules of Procedure provide that “in all election contests the Court may adjudicate damages and attorney’s fees as it may deem
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  • Spring '17
  • john doe

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