FACTS:This is a petition brought by Congressman Dimaporo seeking to nullify the twin Resolutions of the HRET which denied his Motion for Technical Evaluation of the Thumbmarks and Signatures Affixed in the Voters Registration Records and Motion for Reconsideration of Resolution Denying the Motion for Technical Examination of Voting Records.
Pursuant to the 1998 HRET Rules Congressional candidate Mangotara Petition of Protest (Ad Cautelam) seeking the technical examination of the signatures and thumb the protested precincts of the municipality of Sultan Naga Dimaporo (SND). Mangotara alleged that the massive substitution of voters and other electoral irregularities perpetrated by Dimaporo’s supporters will be uncovered and proven. From this and other premises, he concluded that he is the duly-elected representative of the 2nd District of Lanao del Norte.
Noting that “the Tribunal cannot evaluate the questioned ballots because there are no ballots but only election documents to consider” HRET granted Mangotara's motion and permitted the latter to engage an expert to assist him in prosecution of the case, NBI conducted the technical examination.
ISSUE:1. W/N Dimaporo was deprived by HRET of Equal Protection when the latter denied his motion for technical examination.
2. W/N Dimaporo was deprived of procedural due process or the right to present scientific evidence to show the massive substitute voting committed in counter protested precincts.
RULING:1. Resolution of HRET did not offend equal protection clause. Equal protection simply means that all persons and things similarly situated must be treated alike both as to the rights conferred and the liabilities imposed. It follows that the existence of a valid and substantial distinction justifies divergent treatment.
According to Dimaporo since the ballot boxes subject of his petition and that of Mangotara were both unavailable for revision, his motion, like...