SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL
The Senate Electoral Tribunal hereby adopts and promulgates the following rules governing its proceedings as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of Members of the Senate, pursuant to Article VI, Section 17, of the Constitution.
TITLE AND CONSTRUCTION
RULE 1. Title and Construction.— These Rules shall be known and referred to as the “Revised Rules of the Senate Electoral Tribunal.” They shall be liberally construed in order to achieve just, expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every contest brought before the Tribunal. The word “Tribunal,” whenever in these Rules used alone or without qualification, shall be deemed a reference to the Senate Electoral Tribunal, except when otherwise clearly required by the context of its usage.
RULE 2. Organization.— Upon the designation of the Justices of the Supreme Court and the election of the Members of the Senate who are to compose the Senate Electoral Tribunal pursuant to Article VI, Section 17 and 19, of the Constitution, the Tribunal shall meet for organization and for adoption of such resolutions as it may deem proper; provided however, that pending the election of the Members of the Senate who shall sit in the Tribunal, the three (3) Justices already designated shall have the authority to act on provisional and administrative matters that do not affect the rights of any party to an election contest, subject to confirmation by the Tribunal upon its organization.
RULE 3. Meetings, Quorum; Executive Committee; Actions on Matters in Between Regular Meetings.— (a) The Tribunal shall meet on such days and hours as it may designate or at the call of the Chairman or of a majority of the Members. The presence of a majority of the Members with at least one Justice shall be necessary to constitute a quorum. In the absence of the Chairman, the next senior Justice shall preside, and in the absence of both, the Justice present shall take the Chair.(b) In the absence of a quorum, provided there is at least one Justice in attendance, the Members present, who shall not be less than three (3), may constitute themselves as an Executive Committee to act on the agenda for the meeting concerned; provided, however, that its action thereon shall be subject to confirmation by the Tribunal at any subsequent meeting where a quorum is present.
(c) In between the regular meetings of the Tribunal, any three (3) of its Members, provided there is at least one (1) Justice-Member and one Senator-Member, may sit as the Executive Committee to act on the following matters requiring immediate action by the Tribunal:
1. Any pleading, such as a motion,
(a) where delay in its resolution may result in irreparable or substantial damage or injury to the rights of a party or would cause delay in the proceedings or action concerned;
(b) which is urgent in character but does not affect the rights of the adverse party, such as for extension of time to comply with an order/resolution of the Tribunal or file a pleading if such extension has not earlier been prohibited and is within the discretion of the Tribunal;
(c) where the Tribunal would require a comment, reply, rejoinder or any other similar pleading from any of the parties or their attorneys; and,
2. Administrative matters which do not involve new applications or allocations of the appropriations of the Tribunal.
Provided, however, that any action/resolution thereon shall be included in the Order of business in the agenda of the immediately succeeding meeting of the Tribunal for the latter’s confirmation.
(d) The Tribunal may constitute itself into three (3) divisions for the purpose of allocating and distributing its workload. Each division shall be composed of one (1) Justice and two (2) Senators as members.
Each division shall act on such matters as may be assigned to it by the Tribunal en banc, including the appreciation of contested ballots and election documents pertaining to the particular contested municipality, city or province assigned to it by raffle and the submission to the Tribunal en banc of its findings and recommendations thereon within the time specified therefor.
(1) Preserve and enforce order in its immediate presence;
(2) Enforce order in proceedings before it or before any of its officials acting under its authority;
(3) Compel obedience to its judgments, orders and processes;
(4) Compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in any case or proceeding before it;
(5) Administer, or cause to be administered, oaths in any case or proceeding before it, and in all other cases where it may be necessary in the exercise of its powers;
(6) Amend and control its processes and orders to make them conformable to law and justice;
(7) Authorize a copy of a lost or destroyed pleading or other paper to be filed and used in lieu of the original, and restore and supply deficiencies in its records and proceedings; and
(8) Promulgate its own rules of procedure and amend or revise the same.
(1) Issue calls for sessions and meetings of the Tribunal, preside thereat, and preserve order and decorum during the same, and pass upon all questions of order subject to such appeal as any Member may take to the Tribunal;
(2) Enforce the orders, resolutions and decisions of the Tribunal;
(3) With the approval of the Tribunal, appoint, remove or otherwise discipline any employee of the Tribunal. The confidential employees of every Member of the Tribunal shall serve at the pleasure of such Member and in no case beyond his own term;
(4) Exercise administrative supervision over the Tribunal, including the Office of the Secretary of the Tribunal and the administrative staff;
(5) Perform such other acts and functions as may be necessary or appropriate to ensure the independence and efficiency of the Tribunal.
(1) Canvass Board Service;
(2) Legal Service;
(3) Information Systems and Judicial Records Management Service;
(4) Human Resources Management Service;
(5) General Service;
(6) Finance and Budget Service;
(7) Accounting Service;
(8) Cash Management Service.
RULE 10. Duties of the Secretary of the Tribunal.— The Secretary of the Tribunal shall have his office at such place as may be assigned to him by the Tribunal, and shall perform the following duties:
(1) Attend sessions of the Tribunal and, whenever necessary, of its divisions or committees, and keep the minutes thereof which shall comprise a clear and succinct account of all business transacted;
(2) Receive all pleadings and other documents properly presented, indicating on such document the date and time of its filing and furnishing each Member a copy thereof;
(3) Keep a judicial docket wherein shall be entered in chronological order the contests and cases brought before the Tribunal and the proceedings had therein;
(4) Prepare the calendar of cases;
(5) Certify under his signature and the seal of the Tribunal all notices, orders, resolutions, and decisions of the Tribunal;
(6) Execute the orders, resolutions, decisions and processes issued by the Tribunal;
(7) Keep a judgment book containing a copy of each decision and final order or resolution rendered by the Tribunal in the order of their dates, and a Book of Entries of Judgment containing in chronological order entries of the dispositive portion of all decisions and final orders or resolutions of the Tribunal;
(8) When so directed, keep an account of the funds set aside for the expenses of the Tribunal;
(9) Under the Tribunal and the Chairman, oversee the performance of the line and support, adjudicatory and administrative, functions of the various Service Groups of the Administrative Staff, and the keeping and securing of all ballot boxes, elections documents, papers, files of exhibits, the office seal and other public property belonging to the Tribunal;
(10) Keep such other books and perform such other duties as the Tribunal or the Chairman may direct;
(11) Perform such other duties as are prescribed by law for clerks of superior courts.
The Deputy Secretary shall assist the Secretary of the Tribunal, shall act as Secretary in the latter’s absence, and shall perform such duties and functions as may be assigned to him by the Chairman or by the Secretary.
RULE 11. The Seal.— The seal of the Tribunal shall be circular in shape and shall contain in the upper part the words “Senate Electoral Tribunal,” in the center the coat of arms of the Republic of the Philippines, and at the base the words “Republic of the Philippines.” It shall be affixed to all decisions, orders, rulings, resolutions or notices of the Tribunal, certified copies of official records, and such other documents which the Tribunal may require to be sealed.
RULE 13. How Initiated.— An election contest is initiated by the filing of an election protest or a petition for quo warranto against a Member of the Senate. An election protest shall not include a petition for quo warranto, nor shall a petition for quo warranto” include an election protest.
RULE 14. Election Protest.— A verified petition contesting the election of any Member of the Senate shall be filed by any candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and been voted for the office of Senator within fifteen (15) days after the promulgation of the protestee. No joint election protest shall be admitted, but the Tribunal, for good and sufficient reasons, may consolidate individual protests and hear and decide them jointly.
RULE 15. Quo Warranto.— A verified petition for quo warranto contesting the election of a Member of the Senate on the ground of ineligibility or disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines shall be filed by any voter within ten (10) days after the proclamation of the respondent.
RULE 18. How Filed.— Election contests (protest or quo warranto) shall be filed either personally with the Office of the Secretary of the Tribunal or by registered mail addressed to the same office in fifteen (15) clearly legible copies. If filed personally, the Secretary of the Tribunal shall endorse on the petition the date and the hour of filing; if filed by registered mail, the date of the mailing of the petition, as shown by the post office stamp on the covering envelope or the registry receipt, shall be considered as the date of filing in the Tribunal. The envelope shall be attached to the record of the case.
(1) The petition is insufficient in form and substance;
(2) The petition is filed beyond the period prescribed therefor in Rule 14 or Rule 15, as the case may be;
(3) The filing fee is not paid within the applicable period prescribed in these Rules;
(4) In case of protests where a cash deposit is required, if such deposit, or the first One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos thereof, is not paid within ten (10) days after the filing of the petition;
(5) The petition or copies thereof, or their annexes, filed with the Tribunal are not clearly legible.
ANSWERS, COUNTER PROTESTS AND CROSS CONTESTS
RULE 21. Answer.— An answer may set up special and affirmative defenses and counterclaims, a counter protest, as well as cross contests against the other respondents (protestees), if any. No counter protest or cross contest shall be filed separately or except as part of an answer. The answer shall be verified and shall be filed within the ten-day period stated in the summons in fifteen (15) clearly legible copies with proof of service of one copy each on the petitioner and the cross contestants, if any.
RULE 22. Counter Protest; Cross Contest.— Answers to counter protests or cross contests must be verified, must be filed in fifteen (15) clearly legible copies within ten (10) days from receipt of the counter protest or cross contest, as the case may be, accompanied by proof of service of one copy each on the protestee and the cross contestees, if any
RULE 23. Motion to Dismiss; Motion for Bill of Particulars; Demurrer to Evidence.— No motion to dismiss, motion for a bill of particulars or demurrer to the evidence shall be entertained. Grounds for a motion to dismiss shall be alleged as affirmative defenses in the appropriate responsive pleading allowed under the preceding Rules 21 and 22, and the Tribunal may in its discretion hold a preliminary hearing on any of the grounds so pleaded.
RULE 25. Failure to Answer; Effect..— If no answer is filed to the protest, counter protest, cross contest or petition for quo warranto within the period fixed in these Rules, a general denial shall be deemed to have been entered.
RULE 26. Amendments.— After the expiration of the period for the filing of protest, counter protest, cross contest, or petition for quo warranto, no substantial amendments of said pleadings which broaden the scope of the action or introduce any additional cause or causes of action shall be allowed. Amendments in matters of form may be admitted at any stage of the proceedings.When the Tribunal admits an amended protest, counter protest, cross contest, or petition for quo warranto it shall order the other party/parties to answer the same within ten (10) days from service of a copy of the amended pleading and the resolution admitting the same.
RULE 27. Other Pleadings; How Filed.— Except for original protests or petitions for quo warranto which the Tribunal itself causes to be served on the adverse party or parties, all other pleadings, motions and other papers shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of the Tribunal personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested, in fifteen (15) clearly legible copies and must be accompanied by proof of service upon the adverse party or parties. No action shall be taken on pleadings that fail to comply with these requirements.All pleadings, motions and other papers filed with the Tribunal in connection with election protests and/or cases pending before other Tribunals, courts or agencies shall likewise be accompanied by proof of service upon the adverse party or parties in the said election protests and cases. No action shall be taken on pleadings, motions and other papers that fail to comply with this requirement.
RULE 28. Proof of Service.— Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the party served or the affidavit of the party serving, containing a full statement of the date, place and manner of service. Proof of service by registered mail shall consist of such affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return receipt (or card), or, in lieu thereof, the unclaimed letter together with the certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the postmaster to the addressee, shall be filed with the Tribunal by the sender immediately upon receipt of either.
RULE 28-A. Priorities in Modes of Service and Filing.— Whenever practicable, the service and filing of pleadings, motions and other papers shall be done personally. Except with respect to papers emanating from the Tribunal, a resort to other modes must be accompanied by a written explanation why the service or filing was not done personally. A violation of this rule may be cause to consider the paper as not filed.
RULE 28-B. No Hearing or Oral Arguments for Motion.— Motions shall not be set for hearing and, unless the Tribunal otherwise determines, no hearing or oral argument shall be allowed in support thereof. The adverse party may file objections to the motion within three (3) days from service, upon the expiration of which such motion shall be deemed submitted for resolution.
FILING FEES, CHARGES, DEPOSITS
Amount of Claim Additional Filing Fee
(1) Not more than P20,000.00 …………………… P120.00
(2) More than P20,000.00
but less than P40,000.00 ………………………… P150.00
(3) P40,000.00 or more but
less than P60,000.00 ……………………………… P200.00
(4) P60,000.00 or more but
less than P80,000.00 ……………………………… P250.00
(5) P80,000.00 or more but
less than P100,000.00 …………………………… P400.00
(6) P100,000.00 or more but
Less than P150,000.00 …………………………… P600.00
(7) P150,000.00 or more ………………………… P600.00
plus P50.00 for every P1,000.00
In excess of P150,000.00
RULE 30. Cash Deposit.— In addition to the fees prescribed in the preceding Rule, each protestant, counter-protestant, cross contestant, or petitioner in quo warranto shall make a cash deposit in the Tribunal in amounts as follows:
(1) In a petition for quo warranto, Five Thousand (P5,000.00) Pesos;
(2) If the protest, counter protest or cross contest does not require the bringing to the Tribunal of ballot boxes and other election documents and paraphernalia, Five Thousand (P5,000.00) Pesos;
(3) If the protest, counter protest or cross contest requires the bringing to the Tribunal of ballot boxes and election documents or paraphernalia, Five Hundred (P500.00) Pesos for each precinct involved therein. If, as thus computed, the amount of the deposit does not exceed One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos, it shall be paid in full within ten (10) days after the filing of the protest, counter protest or cross contest, as the case may be.
(4) If the amount of the deposit exceeds One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos, an initial partial deposit of One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos shall be made within ten (10) days after the filing of the protest, counter protest or cross contest. The balance shall be paid in such installments as the Tribunal may specify upon at least five (5) days advance notice to the party required to make the deposit.
The cash deposit shall be applied by the Tribunal to the payment of all expenses not programmed into or provided for in the Tribunal’s budget which are necessary and incidental to the resolution and adjudication of the protest, counter protest, cross contest, or petition for quo warranto, as the case may be, including, but not limited to, transportation of the ballot boxes and election documents or paraphernalia to the Tribunal, as well as the return thereof to their original official custodians after the case is terminated, and the compensation of the Revisors. Whenever the Tribunal determines that the circumstances so dictate, it may require additional cash deposits. Any unused cash deposits shall be returned to the party or parties making the same after complete termination of the contest.
RULE 31. Effect of Failure to Make Cash Deposit.— If a party fails to make the cash deposits or additional deposits herein provided within the prescribed time limit, the Tribunal may dismiss the protest, counter protest, cross contest or petition for which said deposits are required, or take such action as it may deem equitable under the circumstances.
(1) For furnishing certified transcripts of records or copies of any record, decision, resolution or entry, to any person entitled to demand and receive the same, for each page ………………………………………………………………… Three (P3.00) Pesos;
(2) For furnishing certified transcripts of notes taken by stenographers to every person entitled to request the same, for each page of not less than two hundred and fifty (250) words ………………………………………………… Five (P5.00) Pesos;
(3) For every search for anything not above a year’s standing and reading the same ………………………………………………………………… Five (P5.00) Pesos;
(4) For every certificate not on process ………………… Twenty (P20.00) Pesos.
PRODUCTION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS AND
REVISION OF BALLOTS
RULE 33. When Ballot Boxes and Election Documents Brought Before Tribunal.— Where the allegations in a protest, counter protest or cross contest so warrant, or whenever in its judgment the interest of justice so demands, the Tribunal shall order the ballot boxes containing the ballots and their keys, list of voters with voting records, book of voters, and other documents used in the election brought before it. Certified copies of the Statement of Votes by the Board of Canvassers concerned shall also be obtained. Once these are received, they shall be kept and held secure in the offices of the Tribunal in the care and custody of the Canvass Board under the supervision of the Secretary of the tribunal and the authority of the Chairman.Where any of the documents, ballot boxes and election documents or paraphernalia mentioned in the next preceding paragraph are also involved in an election contest or contests before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal or the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, every effort shall be exerted to synchronize their examination and revision with the examination and revision thereof in either or both of said Tribunals.
The expenses necessary and incident to the bringing of the ballot boxes and election documents or paraphernalia mentioned in the first and second paragraphs of this Rule, and returning them after the termination of the case, as well as the compensation of the Revisors, shall be charged against the party requesting the revision and paid from his cash deposit.
RULE 34. Revision Teams; Party Revisors; Counsel and Supervisors.— Upon receipt of the ballot boxes and election documents or paraphernalia mentioned in Rule 33, the Tribunal shall create such number of revision teams as may be necessary for the revision of the ballots within the period hereinafter provided.
Each revision tam shall be composed of a Head Revisor, who shall be designated by the Tribunal, and one (1) representative for each of the parties to be designated by them respectively. The Tribunal shall designate one of its officials to supervise the revision.
At least five (5) days before the start of the revision, the parties shall submit to the Secretary of the Tribunal, the names of their respective Revisors (equal in number to the revision teams to be formed), the names of an equal number of Alternate Revisors, as well as the names of their counsel and supervisors for accreditation by the Tribunal. Only duly accredited party revisors, alternate party revisors, party counsel and supervisors shall be allowed to participate in or observe the revision proceedings, as the case may be.
The failure of any party to participate in the revision proceedings for any reason, including the inability to field his party revisors, shall not, however, be deemed a waiver of the special and affirmative defenses alleged in his or her Answer.
The Tribunal may, motu proprio or upon motion of any of the parties, withdraw the accreditation of a party revisor, alternate party revisor, party counsel or supervisor, and/or, through its duly authorized representative, remove or oust a party revisor, alternate party revisor, party counsel or supervisor from the revision proceedings for disorderly conduct, unruly behavior or for such acts as would tend to delay, disrupt and/or disturb the revision proceedings.
RULE 35. Revisors; Compensation.— The Tribunal shall fix the compensation of the Revisors which, until otherwise prescribed, shall be One Hundred (P100.00) Pesos for each Revisor and one Hundred Fifty (P150.00) Pesos for the Head Revisor for every ballot box the contents of which are examined. The Head Revisor shall likewise be entitled to a daily allowance to be fixed by the Tribunal and borne equally by the parties. Until otherwise prescribed, the alternate head revisor shall be entitled to a daily fixed allowance of One Hundred Twenty (120.00) Pesos likewise to be borne equally by the parties.
RULE 36. Order to Start Revision.— The Tribunal either motu proprio or upon motion of any of the parties shall set the date for the start of the revision of ballots. Except for failure of a party to make an additional cash deposit required by the Tribunal, the revision, once started, shall continue without interruption until its completion.The revision of ballots shall not be delayed or postponed by reason of the absence of any Party Revisor or his alternate as long as the Head Revisor and one member of the revision team are present. Neither shall the revision be delayed or postponed by reason of the ouster or removal of a party revisor under Rule 34, provided, however, that the Head Revisor and one member of the revision team remain present after said ouster or removal. Failure of the party concerned to immediately replace the ousted party revisor shall be considered a waiver of his right to be represented in the said revision team for the rest of the revision day.
RULE 37. Procedure During Revision.— The officials in charge of the revision shall make a statement of the conditions in which each ballot box was found upon the opening thereof, and set forth clearly in the report to be submitted by them any claim or objection that may have been made to each ballot. Only claims or objections to ballots based on substantial grounds shall be allowed.During the revision, disputed ballots shall be numbered consecutively with a colored pencil for purposes of identification, in the presence and under the direction of the official designated by the Tribunal to supervise the revision. No arguments in support of, or against objections to or claims regarding ballots shall be entertained, but such arguments may be made and set forth by the parties in their memoranda. After the examination of each box, the ballots shall be returned therein under lock and key, but disputed ballots shall be placed in a separate envelope sealed and signed by the Revisors before being returned to the box.
RULE 38. Where Revision Done; Who may be Present.— The revision of ballots shall be undertaken in the offices of the Tribunal, or at such other place as the Tribunal shall designate. During the revision, only the Members of the Tribunal, the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Tribunal; the Tribunal employees supervising or assisting in the revision, the Revisors or their alternates; and the parties, their counsel or duly authorized representatives, shall have access to the area where the revision is taking place.
RULE 39. Report on Result of Revision.— The revision teams shall submit a report on the result of their revision for every ballot box the contents of which they have examined, on a form to be provided by the Tribunal. Copies of such report, duly signed by the members of the revision team, shall be furnished to the parties represented at the revision.
RULE 40. Motion for Technical Examination; Contents.— Any of the parties represented in the revision of the ballots and election documents from a contested municipality, city or province, who seeks the technical examination of said ballots and election documents, must file the proper motion therefor within twenty-four (24) hours after the revision of all or substantially all of the ballots and election documents from the said contested municipality, city or province, specifying:
(1) The nature of the technical examination requested (fingerprint examination, examination of the genuineness of the ballots, etc.);
(2) The documents to be subjected to technical examination, which shall be strictly limited to objected ballots and questioned election documents;
(3) The objections made in the course of the revision of the ballots which the movant intends to substantiate with the results of the technical examination; and
(4) The ballots covered by such objections.
RULE 41. Technical Examination; Time Limits.— The motion for technical examination may be granted by the Tribunal in its discretion and under such conditions as it may impose. If the motion is granted, the Tribunal shall schedule the technical examination, prescribing the duration thereof, and notify the parties at least five (5) days in advance of the start of such examination. The technical examination shall be completed within the period fixed by the Tribunal. A party may attend the technical examination, either personally or through a representative, but the examination may proceed with or without his attendance provided due notice has been given him.The technical examination shall be conducted at the expense of the movant, in the offices of the Tribunal or such other place as the Tribunal may designate and under the supervision of the Secretary of the Tribunal or his duly authorized representative.
Where more than one party requests a technical examination, such examination shall, as far as practicable, be conducted simultaneously.
RULE 42. Experts; Who Shall Provide.— Independent experts necessary for the conduct of a technical examination shall be appointed by the Tribunal. The parties may avail themselves of the assistance of their own experts who may observe, but not interfere with, the examination conducted by the Tribunal’s experts.
RULE 43. Technical Examination Not Interrupted; Extension, When Allowed.— Once started, the technical examination shall continue every working day until completed or until the expiration of the period prescribed therefor.Extensions of the period fixed for conducting technical examinations shall not be allowed, except upon clear showing that the party conducting the examination has diligently utilized the period originally granted him for that purpose but could not finish the examination within said period for compelling reasons not imputable to him.
RULE 44. Photographing or Photocopying.— Photographing or photocopying of ballot or election documents, if allowed by the Tribunal, shall be done within Tribunal premises or such other place as the Tribunal may designate, under the supervision of the Secretary of the Tribunal or his duly authorized representative. The party concerned shall provide his own photographic or reproduction equipment.
RULE 45. Scope of Technical Examination.— Only the ballots and other election documents allowed by the Tribunal to be examined shall be subject to technical examinations.
RULE 46. Matching; When Allowed.— Matching of ballots with detachable coupons may be allowed by the Tribunal only after a showing that the voter whose ballot is to be matched has waived the secrecy of his ballot or that he is not a registered voter of the precinct where he voted.
RULE 47. Who May Issue; Form and Contents.— Subpoenas ad testificandum or duces tecum may be issued by the Tribunal motu proprio, or upon application of any of the parties.A subpoena shall be signed by the Secretary or the Deputy Secretary of the Tribunal; shall state the name of the Tribunal and the title of the action; and shall be directed to the person whose attendance is required. In case of a subpoena duces tecum, it shall also contain a reasonable description of the books, documents or things demanded which must appear prima facie relevant.
RULE 48. Authority of Hearing Commissioners to Issue Subpoenas; Parties to File Proper Motion.— Hearing Commissioners may be authorized by the Tribunal to issue subpoenas in cases assigned to them for reception of evidence.The party seeking the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum or subpoena duces tecum shall file the proper motion before the Hearing Commissioner at least five (5) working days before the hearing in which the witness or document sought will be presented. Failure of the party to file the proper motion within the above period shall be considered a waiver of his right to compel the attendance of the witness or the production of documents concerned.
RECEPTION OF EVIDENCE
RULE 49. Hearings; By Whom and When Conducted.— The Tribunal may delegate the reception of evidence to a Hearing Commissioner, who must be a member of the Philippine Bar and may be an employee of the Tribunal in any capacity.
RULE 50. Preliminary Conference.— Upon his designation, the Hearing Commissioner shall forthwith call the parties to a preliminary conference. At such conference, the parties shall consider:
(a) The simplification of issues;
(b) The possibility of obtaining stipulation or admission of facts and of documents to avoid unnecessary proof;
(c) The limitation of the number of witnesses;
(d) The nature of the testimonies of the witnesses as to whether they relate to evidence aliunde the ballots, or otherwise;
(e) The withdrawal of some contested, counter-protested or cross-protested precincts (especially those where, inter alia, the ballots are unavailable due to the existence of protests concerning other positions involving the said ballots or are missing and cannot be located or destroyed due to natural disasters or calamities);
(f) The fixing of the dates for the reception of evidence, including the matter of reception to be done simultaneously with the revision of the ballots if the evidence is intended to prove causes of action or defenses or issues which are unrelated to the ballots or election documents;
(g) Such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the protest, counter-protest or cross-contest.
The presentation of witnesses in excess of that declared by a party shall be deemed waived unless for meritorious reasons shown in a proper motion, the Tribunal shall allow their presentation.
RULE 50-A. Reception of Evidence; Continuous Hearings.— (a) Reception of evidence by a Hearing Commissioner shall be done at the offices of the Tribunal unless the Tribunal, for good cause shown, directs the reception of evidence in some other places.The reception of evidence for a particular municipality, city or province shall be held from 9:30 to 12:00 A.M. and from 1:30 to 4:00 P.M., everyday, except Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, unless the parties agree otherwise, until the completion of the presentation of the evidence by the parties for that municipality, city or province.
If at the preliminary conference the parties have agreed on the presentation of witnesses to testify on matters or issues aliunde the ballots or other election documents (e.g., vote-buying, fraud, terrorism, or violence), the reception of the testimonies of said witnesses shall be done simultaneously with the revision of the ballots at a date fixed for the purpose by the Hearing Commissioner.
The reception of the evidence on all other matters or issues incident to or interwoven with the ballots and related election documents shall be made (a) upon the completion of the revision of all, or substantially all, of the ballots or election documents, or (b) when so allowed by the Tribunal motu proprio or upon motion of a party, after the completion of the technical examination of the questioned ballots, etc., if any, pertaining to a municipality, city or province in a protest, counter-protest, or cross-protest, as the case may be. However, where hearing for the reception of evidence are made for a particular municipality, city or province before the completion of the revision of the contested ballots or election documents, a hearing may be held on such dates as may be fixed by the Hearing Commissioner for the reception of evidence relating to or interwoven with the ballots or election documents thereafter revised.
The failure of any party to present evidence during the hearings shall not, however, be deemed a waiver of the special and affirmative defenses alleged in his/her Answer.
RULE 51. Procedure of Hearings.— At the reception of the evidence for a party before a Hearing Commissioner, the other parties shall be entitled to be present and to cross-examine the witnesses presented, unless they are deemed to have waived such right.Reception of evidence may proceed ex parte, even in the absence of the other parties, provided they have been duly notified of the hearing. In such a case, the absent party shall be deemed to have waived his right to be present and to cross-examine a witness whose testimony on direct or redirect examination has been concluded.
If a party scheduled to present evidence fails to appear at the date, time and place appointed, the Hearing Commissioner may adjourn the proceedings to the following day, giving notice of such adjournment to the absent party or his counsel. The delay shall be charged to the period allowed the absent party for the presentation of his evidence.
Unless the Hearing Commissioner or the Tribunal directs otherwise, the order of hearing shall be as follows:
(a) the protestant shall present evidence for a particular municipality, city or province, which tend to support his contentions thereon;
(b) the protestees, in the order to be determined by the Hearing Commissioner, shall then present evidence to support their respective defenses for that particular municipality, city or province;
(c) the protestant, subject to the approval of the Tribunal, may then present rebuttal evidence;
(d) No sur-rebuttal evidence shall be allowed.
RULE 52. Hearing Commissioner to Rule on Objections.— The Hearing Commissioner receiving the evidence shall rule on objections made in the course of the examination of the witnesses, but his rulings shall be subject to review by the Tribunal. An exception to a ruling of the Hearing Commissioner shall not suspend the reception of evidence.
RULE 53. Procedure After Hearing Before Commissioner.— Within five (5) days after completion of the reception of evidence for a particular municipality, city or province, the Hearing Commissioner shall submit to the Tribunal or the Division concerned the evidence presented, together with the transcript of the proceedings held before him.
RULE 54. Time Limit for Presentation of Evidence, Notice of Evidence to Tribunal and Parties.—A protestant, counter-protestant, or cross-contestant shall have a maximum period of five (5) hearing days to present his evidence for a particular contested province and a maximum period of two (2) hearing days to present his evidence for a particular contested municipality or city, as the case may be. The protestee, counter-protestee or cross-protestee shall each then have a maximum period of three (3) hearing days within which to present evidence for their respective defenses for that particular province and a maximum of one (1) hearing day each to present their defenses for that particular municipality or city, as the case may be.Where less than five (5) municipalities in a province are contested, the presentation of the protestant’s evidence in chief shall be done within a maximum of three (3) hearing days and the presentation of the evidence in chief for the adverse party shall be done within a maximum period of one (1) hearing day.
A protestant, counter-protestant or cross-protestant, however, may present evidence for more than one province, city or mu7nicipality in one hearing day.
The protestees, counter-protesteees or cross-protestees shall present their respective evidence immediately upon the completion of the presentation of the evidence for the protestant, counter-protestant or cross-protestant, as the case may be.
To prevent surprise and to expedite the proceedings, the protestant, counter-protestant, or cross-protestant shall inform the protestees, counter-protestees or cross-protestees of the evidence to be presented and provide a reasonable description thereof at least three (3) days before the scheduled hearing.
At least three (3) days before the scheduled date of hearing, a party shall also submit to the Tribunal a list a list of documentary and testimonial evidence to be presented. He shall also indicate therein the documents which are already in the custody of the Tribunal.
For testimonial evidence, the affidavits of the witnesses shall be considered as their direct testimony. These affidavits shall be submitted to the Tribunal and served on the other parties at least three (3) days before the scheduled hearing. Failure of the party to submit the affidavit of the witness within the specified time will constitute a waiver of his right to present said testimonial evidence.
The hearing for any particular date or dates shall not be postponed or cancelled except upon request of the party presenting the evidence and only for meritorious and compelling reasons. In any case, the delay caused by such postponement or cancellation shall be charged against such party’s period for presenting evidence.
The following shall not be charged against the period allotted a party for the presentation of his evidence;
(1) The period during which presentation of the party’s evidence is suspended by order of the Tribunal or the Hearing Commissioner by reason of the pendency of an issue in the nature of a prejudicial question which should first be resolved before the hearing can continue;
(2) The time taken up in the cross-examination of his witnesses by the adverse parties.
RULE 55. Evidence Not Formally Presented; Exceptions; Degree of Proof Required.— Evidence not formally presented shall be deemed waived and shall not be considered by the Tribunal in deciding the case; provided, however, that documents previously marked during revision as exhibits will be considered included in the offer of evidence and need not be marked again during the reception of evidence.The degree of proof shall be at least a preponderance of evidence.
RULE 56. Evidence by Deposition.— Oral evidence may be received in the form of depositions, the taking and use of which shall be in accordance with the provisions of Rule 24 of the Revised Rues of Court, except that:
(1) Leave of the Tribunal must be obtained for the taking of a deposition;
(2) Depositions within the Philippines may be taken only before Judges of Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, who shall be designated by the corresponding Executive Judge at the request of the Tribunal;
(3) The Judge before whom the deposition is taken shall forward to the Secretary of the Tribunal the original and fourteen (14) copies of the position within five (5) days after completion of the taking of the deposition.
The period utilized by a party for taking depositions shall be charged against the period allotted him for the presentation of his evidence.
RULE 57. When Submitted; Contents.— Within five (5) days from receipt of the Tribunal’s ruling on the last offer of evidence for a particular contested municipality, city or province, the parties may be required to simultaneously submit their respective memoranda, setting forth briefly and concisely:
(1) The facts;
(2) A complete statement of all the arguments submitted in support of their respective views in respect of the subject contested municipality, city or province;
(3) Objections to the ballots adjudicated to or claimed by the other parties in the revision of ballots of that particular contested municipality, city or province;
(4) Refutation of the objections of the other parties to the ballots adjudicated to or claimed by the latter in the revision of ballots of that particular contested municipality, city or province.
All evidence, as well as objections to evidence presented by the other parties, shall be referred to or contained either in the memorandum or in appendices thereto.
RULE 58. Supplemental or Rebuttal Memorandum.—No supplemental, reply or rebuttal memorandum shall be allowed.
PILOT PRECINCTS, INITIAL REVISION
RULE 59. Pilot Precinct; initial Revision— Any provision of these Rules to the contrary notwithstanding, as soon as the issues in any contest before it have been joined, the Tribunal may direct and require each of the protestant, counter protestants and cross protestants, if any, to state and designate in writing, within a fixed period the provinces, with their municipalities or cities, which correspond to at most twenty-five (25%) percent of the total number involved in the protest, counter protests and cross protests, as the case may be, which said parties deem as best exemplifying or demonstrating the electoral frauds pleaded by each of them; and the revision of the ballots and reception of evidence shall begin with such pilot provinces or cities thus designated. Upon the termination of such initial revision and reception of evidence, and based upon what reasonably appears therefrom as affecting or not the officially-proclaimed results of the contested election, the Tribunal may dismiss the protest, any counter-protest or cross protest, as the case may be, or all of them, or require the parties to show cause why these should not be dismissed without further proceedings.
RULE 60. Votes Required.— In passing on all questions submitted to the Tribunal, all the Members present, including the Chairman, shall vote. For the rendition of a decision and the adoption of formal resolutions, the concurrence of five (5) Members shall be necessary.
RULE 61. Rulings in Hearings Before the Tribunal.— During hearings before the Tribunal, the Chairman, or in his absence, the Justice presiding, shall decide all questions raised in connection with the examination of witnesses and the admission of evidence and his rulings shall be deemed as made by the Tribunal. If any Member should request that a question be previously decided in consultation, the Chairman or the Justice presiding shall act only after the matter has been voted upon.
RULE 62. Procedure in Deciding Contests.— In rendering its decisions, the Tribunal shall follow the procedure prescribed for the Supreme Court in Article VIII, Sections 13 and 14, of the Constitution.
RULE 63. Promulgation of Decisions.— After the judgment and dissenting opinions, if any, are signed, they shall be delivered for filing to the Secretary of the Tribunal, who shall cause true copies thereof to be served personally on the parties or their counsel.
RULE 64. Finality of Decision— A decision of the Tribunal shall become final ten (10) days after receipt of a copy thereof by the parties of their counsel, if no motion for reconsideration is filed.No motion for reopening of a case shall be entertained. Motions for reconsideration of a decision under the evidence already of record shall be filed within ten (10) days from service of a copy of the decision. No party may file more than one (1) motion for reconsideration, copy of which shall be served personally on the adverse parties, who may answer or comment thereon within five (5) days after receipt thereof.
If a motion for reconsideration is denied, the decision shall become final and executory upon personal service on the parties of the resolution denying the motion for reconsideration. If the motion for reconsideration is granted, the party or parties adversely affected may move to reconsider within ten (10) days from receipt of the resolution granting the motion for reconsideration, otherwise, the decision as reconsidered shall become final and executory after the lapse of said period.
RULE 65. Entry of Judgment.— The judgment shall be entered by the Secretary of the Tribunal immediately upon its becoming final and executory. The recording of the judgment in the Book of Entries of Judgments shall constitute its entry. The record shall contain the dispositive porton of the judgment and shall be signed by the Secretary of the Tribunal, with a certificate that such judgment has become final and executory.
RULE 66. Procedure After Finality of Judgment.— As soon as a decision is entered, notice thereof shall be sent to the Senate, the President of the Philippines, and the Commission on Audit.The originals of all decisions of the Tribunal shall be kept in bound form in the archives of the Tribunal. Decisions shall be published in the Official Gazette.
RULE 67. When Allowed.— Costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party as a matter of course, but the Tribunal shall have the power, for special reasons, to apportion costs in such manner it may deem equitable.The prevailing party may recover the following costs:
(1) For his own attendance, and that of his attorney, down to and including final judgment, One Hundred (P100,00) Pesos;
(2) All lawful fees charged against him by the Tribunal in entering and docketing the action and recording the proceedings and judgment therein, and for the issuance of all processes.
The lawful fees of a commissioner (other than an officer or employee of the Tribunal) may also be taxed against the defeated party, or apportioned as justice requires.
If a protest, counter protest, or cross contest or petition for quo warranto is dismissed, the Tribunal nevertheless shall have the power to render judgment for costs.
When a protest, counter protest, cross contest or petition for quo warranto is found to be frivolous, treble costs may be imposed by the Tribunal on the protestant, counter protestant, cross contestant or petitioner in quo warranto, as the case may be, which shall be paid by his attorney, if ordered by the Tribunal.
No attorney’s fees shall be charged as costs, except as provided by the Civil Code. But this provision shall have no relation to the fees charged by an attorney to his client.
RULE 68. Applicability.— The following shall be applicable by analogy or suppletorily, so far as they are not inconsistent with these Rules or with the orders, resolutions and decisions of the Tribunal.
(1) The Rules of Court;
(2) Decisions of the Supreme Court;
(3) Decisions of the Electoral Tribunals.
RULE 70. Effectivity. These Rules shall take effect fifteen (15) days from their publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. Upon their taking effect, any and all Rules of the Tribunal previously adopted or promulgated are superseded and repealed, and these Rules shall remain operative until amended or substituted by the Tribunal.
APPROVED, April 23, 1999.
FLERIDA RUTH P. ROMERO
JOSE A.R. MELO
JOSE C. VITUG
RAUL S. ROCO
JUAN M. FLAVIER
VICENTE C. SOTTO III
RODOLFO G. BIAZON
ROBERT S. JAWORSKI, SR.