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Pahilan vs. Tabalba, COMELEC and Judge Tabano Jr. (G.R. No. 110170. February 21, 1994)

28 May

ROLETO A. PAHILAN, petitioner,
vs.
RUDY A. TABALBA, COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and HONORABLE JUDGE SINFOROSO V. TABAMO, JR., BRANCH 28, MAMBAJAO, CAMIGUIN, respondents.

Pimentel, Apostol, Layosa & Sibayan Law Office for petitioner.

Marciano Ll. Aparte, Jr. for Rudy A. Tabalba.

Ponente: REGALADO

FACTS:

Petitioner Pahilan and private respondent Tabalba were candidates for Mayor during the local elections. The Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed Tabalba as the duly elected Mayor. Petitioner filed an election protest which he sent by registered mail, addressed to the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court , attaching thereto P200.00 in cash as payment for docket fees. In a letter dated May 28, 1992, the OIC-Clerk of Court informed Pahilan that the correct fees that where supposed to be paid amounted to P620.00, and that, accordingly, the petition would not be entered in the court docket and summons would not be issued pending payment of the balance of P420.00. On June 16, 1992, petitioner paid the required balance in the total amount P470.00 after learning.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the notice of appeal can be validly substituted by an appeal brief.

HELD:

YES. Order of the Commission on Elections and the Order of the RTC in Election Case No. 3(92) are hereby reversed and set aside.

RATIO:

The rules which apply to ordinary civil actions may not necessarily serve the purpose of election cases, especially if we consider the fact that election laws are to be accorded utmost liberality in their interpretation and application, bearing in mind always that the will of the people must be upheld. Ordinary civil actions would generally involve private interests while all elections cases are, at all times, invested with public interest which cannot be defeated by mere procedural or technical infirmities.

[I]n the present case, the docket fee was paid (P200.00) except that the amount given was not correct. Considering the fact that there was an honest effort on the part of herein petitioner to pay the full amount of docket fees, we are not inclined to insist on a stringent application of the rules.

 

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