FLORES vs. COMELEC
184 SCRA 484
Facts: Petitioner Roque Flores was declared by the board of canvassers as having the highest number of votes for kagawad on the March 1989 elections, in Barangay Poblacion, Tayum, Abra, and thus proclaimed punong barangay in accordance with Section 5 of R.A. 6679. However, his election was protested by private respondent Rapisora, who placed secondin the election with one vote less than the petitioner. The Municipal CircuitTrial Court of Tayum sustained Rapisora and installed him as punong barangay in place of the petitioner after deducting two votes as stray from the latter’s total. Flores appealed to the RTC, which affirmed the challenged decision in toto. The judge agreed that the four votes cast for “Flores” only, without any distinguishing first name or initial, should all have been considered invalid instead of being divided equally between the petitioner and Anastacio Flores, another candidate for kagawad. The total credited to the petitioner was correctly reduced by 2, demoting him tosecond place.
The petitioner went to the COMELEC, which dismissed his appeal on the ground that it had no power to review the decision of the RTC, based onSection 9 of R.A. 6679, that decisions of the RTC in a protest appealed to it from the municipal trial court in barangay elections “on questions of fact shall be final and non-appealable”. In his petition for certiorari, the COMELEC is faulted for not taking cognizance of the petitioners appeal.
Issue: Whether or not the decisions of Municipal or Metropolitan Courts in barangay election contests are subject to the exclusive appellatejurisdiction of the COMELEC considering Section 9 of R.A. No. 6679?
Held: The dismissal of the appeal is justified, but on an entirely different and more significant ground, to wit, Article IX-C, Section 2(2) of the Constitution, providing that the COMELEC shall “Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all...