Aroyo v Doj and Comelec

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Arroyo v. DOJ
   ARROYO vs. DOJ and COMELECG.R. No. 199082 Facts: ã Due to allegations of massive electoral fraud and manipulation of election results in the 2004 and2007 National Elections, on August 2, 2011, the Comelec issued Resolution No. 9266  approvingthe creation of a committee jointly with the Department of Justice (D! # ã n August 4, 2011, the $ecretar% of !ustice issued Department rder No# &40   naming three (' of its prosecutors to the !oint Committee# ã n August 1, 2011, the Comelec and the D! issued !oint rder No# 001)2011 creating andconstituting a Joint ommittee and Fact!Finding eam on the 2##$ and 2##% National&lections electoral fraud and manipulation cases  *ith the mandate to conduct the necessar%preliminar% investigation on the +asis of the evidence gathered and the charges recommended +%the act)inding -eam created and referred#.h% the act inding -eam *as created/ ã he Fact!Finding eam was created for the purpose of gathering real' documentary' andtestimonial e(idence which can )e utili*ed in the preliminary in(estigation to )econducted )y the Joint ommittee # ã -he mem+ers of the act)inding -eam unanimously agreed  that the su+ect of the nitial eport*ould +e the electoral fraud and manipulation of election results allegedly committedduring the +ay ,$' 2##% elections # .hat *as the initial findings  of the act inding -eam/ ã -he act)inding -eam concluded that manipulation of the results in the +ay ,$' 2##%senatorial elections in the pro(inces of North and -outh ota)ato and +aguindanao wereindeed perpetrated #.hat *as the recommendation  of the act finding -eam/ ã -he act)inding -eam recommended that petitioner A+alos and ten (10 others +e su+ected to preliminary in(estigation  for electoral sa)otage for conspiring to manipulate the electionresults in North and -outh ota)ato.   ã -*ent%)si3 (2&   persons, including petitioners 5A and A+alos, *ere li6e*ise recommended forpreliminary in(estigation for electoral sa)otage for manipulating the election results in+aguindanao #   ã $everal persons *ere also recommended to +e charged administrativel%, *hile others, includingpetitioner +ie /rroyo , *ere recommended to +e su)jected to further in(estigation # .hat did these petitioners do/ ã etitioners filed etitions for ertiorari and 0rohi)ition  *ith ra%er for the ssuance of a emporary Restraining 1rder  (- and8or .rit of reliminar% nunction assailing thecreation of the Joint 0anel #  .hat did 5A do/ ã 5A filed +efore the !oint Committee an mni+us +otion /d autelam  to re9uire $enatorimentel to furnish her with documents referred to in his complaint!affida(it  and for the production of election documents as )asis for the charge of electoral sa)otage. .hat is the contention of 5A/ ã 5A contended that for the crime of electoral sa+otage to +e esta+lished ' there is a need topresent election documents allegedly tampered which resulted in the increase ordecrease in the num)er of (otes of local and national candidates # ã -he !oint Committee denied the motion# ã 5A su+se9uentl% filed a motion for reconsideration#.hat is the resolution of the D! : C5E;EC preliminar% investigation/1# -hat information8s for the crime of && 1R/ -/31 /4& )e filed against  ;A5ACAAA;)A<, =EN!A5N A=A;$, $#, ;N-AN ># =ED;, DA-? ANDA; A5A-?AN,$# and E-E E<E$@ 3332# -hat the charges against !$E 5?E; -# A<, =N $EAN, A;=E- AA,ANDE =N -A?5, A==< C;A?D, 5< DA<DA<, !EE5< !AE, !>N DE a#6#a=?-C>, )e D5-+5--&D for insufficiency of e(idence  to esta+lish pro+a+le cause@ 5ssues: 1# .hether or not the creation of act)inding -eam on the 2004 and 2007 National ElectionsElectoral raud and 5anipulation CasesB is constitutional in light of the follo*ing ã due process clause :<E$, it is constitutional ã e9ual protection clause of the 17 Constitution) <E$, it is constitutional ã the principle of separation of po*ers) <E$, it is constitutional ã the independence of the C5E;EC as a constitutional +od%) <E$, it is constitutional2# .hether or not the C5E;EC has urisdiction under the la* to conduct preliminar% investigation ointl% *ith the D! ) <E$'# .hether or not due process *as o+served +% the !oint D!)C5E;EC act)inding -eam andreliminar% nvestigation Committee, and the C5E;EC in the conduct of the preliminar%investigation and approval of the !oint anelFs esolution#  eld: 1#<es# -he creation of act finding team is constitutional#$ection 2, Article G)C of the 17 Constitution enumerates the po*ers and functions of theComelec# aragraph (& thereof vests in the Comelec the po*er to (& ile, upon a verifiedcomplaint, or on its o*n initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or e3clusion of voters@investigate and, *here appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election la*s, includingacts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices#  -he grant to the Comelec of the po*er to investigate and prosecute election offenses as anadunct to the enforcement and administration of all election la*s is intended to ena+le theComelec to effectivel% insure to the people the free, orderl%, and honest conduct of elections# -he failure of the Comelec to e3ercise this po*er could result in the frustration of the true *ill of the people and ma6e a mere idle ceremon% of the sacred right and dut% of ever% 9ualified citiHen to vote#2#<es# t has urisdiction to conduct preliminar% investigation ointl% *ith the D!=asis/=atas am+ansa =lg# 1, sec# 2& other*ise 6no*n as the mni+us Election Code : -he Commission shall, through its dul% authoriHed legal officers, have the e3clusive po*er toconduct preliminar% investigation of all election offenses punisha+le under this Code, and toprosecute the same#-herefore,t is, therefore, not onl% the po*er +ut the duty of )oth the omelec and the D1J  to performan% act necessar% to ensure the prompt and fair investigation and prosecution of electionoffenses# -here is  no impediment for the omelec and the D1J to create the Jointommittee and Fact!Finding eam for the purpose of conducting a thoroughin(estigation of the alleged massi(e electoral fraud and the manipulation of electionresults in the 2##$ and 2##% national elections relating in particular to the presidentialand senatorial elections #'#<es# -he due process *as o+served# Due 0rocess ã reliminar% investigation is considered as a udicial proceeding *herein the prosecutor orinvestigating officer, +% the nature of his functions, acts as a 9uasi)udicial officer# -he authorit%of a prosecutor or investigating officer dul% empo*ered to preside over or to conduct apreliminar% investigation is no less than that of a municipal udge or even an -C !udge# ã t must also +e emphasiHed that !oint rder No# 001)2011 created t*o +odies, namel% (1 theact)inding -eam tas6ed to gather real, documentar% and testimonial evidence *hich can +eutiliHed in the preliminar% investigation to +e conducted +% the !oint Committee@ and (2 the !ointCommittee mandated to conduct preliminar% investigation# t is, therefore, inaccurate to sa% thatthere is onl% one +od% *hich acted as evidence)gatherer, prosecutor and udge# -u)stanti(e 5ssues3ases for the reation of theFact!Finding eam and Joint ommittee Constitutionality of Joint-Order No. 001-2011 &7ual 0rotection lause ã ?nli6e the matter addressed +% the CourtFs ruling in =iraogo v# hilippine -ruth Commission of 2010, !oint rder No# 001)2011 cannot +e nullified on the ground that it singles out the officialsof the Arro%o Administration and, therefore, it infringes the e9ual protection clause#  ã -he hilippine -ruth Commission of 2010 *as e3pressl% created for the purpose of investigatingalleged graft and corruption during the Arro%o Administration since E3ecutive rder No# 1specificall% referred to the Bprevious administrationB@ while the Joint ommittee was createdfor the purpose of conducting preliminary in(estigation of election offenses during the2##$ and 2##% elections. .hile 5A and 5i6e Arro%o *ere among those su+ected topreliminar% investigation, not all respondents therein *ere lin6ed to 5A as there *ere pu+licofficers *ho *ere investigated upon in connection *ith their acts in the performance of theirofficial duties# rivate individuals *ere also su+ected to the investigation +% the !oint Committee# ã As the constitutional +od% granted *ith the +road po*er of enforcing and administering all la*s andregulations relative to the conduct of an election, ple+iscite, initiative, referendum and recall, andtas6ed to ensure free, orderl%, honest, peaceful, and credi+le elections,   the Comelec has theauthorit% to determine ho* +est to perform such constitutional mandate# ursuant to thisauthorit%, the Comelec issues various resolutions prior to ever% local or national elections settingforth the guidelines to +e o+served in the conduct of the elections# -his sho*s that ever% electionis distinct and re9uires different guidelines in order to ensure that the rules are updated torespond to e3isting circumstances# ã 5oreover, as has +een practiced in the past, complaints for violations of election la*s ma% +e filedeither *ith the Comelec or *ith the D!# -he Comelec ma% even initiate, motu proprio,complaints for election offenses# ã 0ursuant to law and the omelec8s own Rules' in(estigations may )e conducted either )ythe omelec itself through its law department or through the prosecutors of the D1J. -hese var%ing procedures and treatment do not, ho*ever, mean that respondents are not treatedali6e# -hus, petitionersF insistence of infringement of their constitutional right to e9ual protectionof the la* is misplaced# -eparation of powers ã etitioners claim that the !oint anel is a ne* pu+lic office as sho*n +% its composition, thecreation of its o*n ules of rocedure, and the source of funding for its operation# t is theirposition that the po*er of the D! to investigate the commission of crimes and the ComelecFsconstitutional mandate to investigate and prosecute violations of election la*s do not include thepo*er to create a ne* pu+lic office in the guise of a oint committee# -hus, in creating the !ointanel, the D! and the Comelec encroached upon the po*er of the ;egislature to create pu+licoffice# ã As clearl% e3plained a+ove, the Comelec is granted the po*er to investigate, and *hereappropriate, prosecute cases of election offenses# -his is necessar% in ensuring free, orderl%,honest, peaceful and credi+le elections# n the other hand, the D! is mandated to administerthe criminal ustice s%stem in accordance *ith the accepted processes thereof consisting in theinvestigation of the crimes, prosecution of offenders and administration of the correctionals%stem# t is specificall% empo*ered to Binvestigate the commission of crimes, prosecuteoffenders and administer the pro+ation and correction s%stem#B Also, the provincial or cit%prosecutors and their assistants, as *ell as the national and regional state prosecutors, arespecificall% named as the officers authoriHed to conduct preliminar% investigation# ecentl%, theComelec, through its dul% authoriHed legal offices, is given the po*er, concurrent *ith the otherprosecuting arms of the government such as the D!, to conduct preliminar% investigation of allelection offenses# ã ?ndou+tedl%, it is the Constitution, statutes, and the ules of Court and not the assailed !oint rder*hich give the D! and the Comelec the po*er to conduct preliminar% investigation# No ne*po*er is given to them +% virtue of the assailed order# As to the mem+ers of the !oint Committeeand act)inding -eam, the% perform such functions that the% alread% perform +% virtue of theircurrent positions as prosecutors of the D! and legal officers of the Comelec# -hus, in no *a% can*e consider the !oint Committee as a ne* pu+lic office#
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