SC Issues Status Quo Ante Order in Legazpi Mayor Disqualification Case
May 11, 2023
The Supreme Court today acted on the two petitions for certiorari under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assailing the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolutions dated October 4, 2022 and May 4, 2023 in SPA No. 22-032 (DC) which (1) disqualified Carmen Geraldine Rosal as candidate for mayor of Legazpi City, Albay in the 2022 National and Local Elections and (2) directed the Special City Board of Canvassers of Legazpi City to proclaim second-placer Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr. as the duly-elected mayor of Legazpi City.
The petitions prayed, among others, that the Court issue: (1) a status quo ante order, a temporary restraining order (TRO), and/or a writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) directing the COMELEC to maintain the status quo prevailing before the issuance of the assailed Resolutions (G.R. No. 266796); and (2) a TRO and/or WPI preventing the COMELEC from enforcing its Resolutions proclaiming the second placer, Garbin, as mayor of Legazpi City (G.R. No. 266775).
In a Status Quo Ante Order dated May 11, 2023, given by authority of the Acting Chief Justice, upon the written recommendation of the Member-in-Charge, the Court deemed it necessary and proper to (a) CONSOLIDATE the two petitions docketed as G.R. No. 266775 (Oscar Robert H. Cristobal v. COMELEC, Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr., Joseph San Agustin Armogila, and Carmen Geraldine Rosal) and G.R. No. 266796 (Carmen Geraldine Rosal v. COMELEC, Joseph San Agustin Armogila, Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr., and Oscar Robert H. Cristobal); (b) REQUIRE respondents COMELEC, Garbin, Armogila, Rosal, and Cristobal to file their respective CONSOLIDATED COMMENTS thereon within a NON- EXTENDIBLE period of ten (10) days from notice; and (c) ISSUE a Status Quo Ante Order requiring the parties to observe the STATUS QUO prevailing before the issuance of the Resolutions dated October 4, 2022 and May 4, 2023 of the COMELEC in SPA No. 22-032 (DC).
Armogila and Rosal were candidates for councilor and mayor of Legazpi, respectively, in the 2022 National and Local Elections. Armogila filed a petition for disqualification against Rosal before the COMELEC on the grounds of vote buying under Section 68(a) of the Omnibus Election Code and violation of the prohibition on release, disbursement, and expenditure of public funds under Section 261(v) of the same law.
The Supreme Court is on a month-long intensive decision writing break and will reconvene as a Court En Banc on June 13, 2023.
FULL TEXT of Status Quo Ante Order in G.R. Nos. 266775 and 266796 at https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/266775-266796-oscar-robert-h-cristobal-vs-commission-on-elections-alfredo-a-garbin-jr-joseph-san-juan-armogila-and-carmen-gerladine-rosal-carmen-geraldine-rosal-vs-commission-on-elections-jos/ (Courtesy of the Supreme Court Public Information Office)