Political Law

LAZATIN vs. HRET and LORENZO G. TIMBOL G.R. No. 84297 December 8, 1988 Election, Electoral tribunal

FACTS:

Petitioner and private respondent were among the candidates for Representative of the first district of Pampanga. Petitioner was proclaimed as Congressman-elect and assumed office. Later, the COMELEC declared petitioner’s proclamation void ab initio. Petitioner challenged the COMELEC resolution before this Court. The Court set aside the COMELEC’s revocation of petitioner’s proclamation. On February 8, 1988, private respondent filed in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal an election protest.

ISSUES:

1. Whether the HRET has jurisdiction over the protest filed by private respondent.

2. May the Supreme Court review decisions of the HRET?

RULING:

1. The Court is of the view that the protest had been filed on time and, hence, the HRET acquired jurisdiction over it.

The power of the HRET, as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives, to promulgate rules and regulations relative to matters within its jurisdiction, including the period for filing election protests before it, is beyond dispute. Its rule-making power necessarily flows from the general power granted it by the Constitution.

2. Under the 1987 Constitution, the scope of the Court’s authority is made explicit. The power granted to the Court includes the duty “to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government (Art. VIII, Sec. 11. Thus, only where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the HRET’s judgment.

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