Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence

Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1917 > December 1917 Decisions > G.R. No. L-12934 December 8, 1917 - PIO ANCHETA v. MAURO ORTIZ ET AL.

037 Phil 295:



[G.R. No. L-12934. December 8, 1917. ]

PIO ANCHETA, protestant-appellee, v. MAURO ORTIZ ET AL., protestees. MAURO ORTIZ, Appellant.

Sison & Moran for Appellant.

Ramon Diokno for Appellee.


1. ELECTIONS; CONTESTED ELECTIONS; COMMISSIONERS TO COUNT BALLOTS AND HEAR PROOF; PRESENCE OF JUDGE AT COMMISSIONERS’ SESSIONS. — While the commissioners are subject to the control and direction of the court it is not necessary for the judge to preside over the sessions of such commissioners. The principal purpose in the appointment of commissioners is to save busy courts from the necessity of doing the ministerial work of counting ballots.

2. ID; ID; ID; ACCEPTANCE OF REPORT OF COMMISSIONERS BY REPRESENTATIVE PARTIES. — When the respective parties to an election contest accept without protest part or of the report of the commissioners it is unnecessary for the judge to hear further proof upon the protest.

3. ID; ID; ILLITERATE AND INCAPACITATED VOTERS; DISQUALIFIED ELECTORS. — While it is an error and contrary to law and may affect vitally the election for the election inspectors to assist illiterate and incapacitated voters in the preparation of their ballots without first requiring an oath of such illiteracy, etc., yet whether such error was committed is a question of fact. If a preponderance of the evidence shows that the law in this respect was complied with the result of the election will not modified by the court. The result will be the same where it is charged that persons voted who are not qualified electors.



It appears from the record that on the 6th day of June, 1916, an election was held in the Province of La Union for the office of governor of said province; that at said election the protestant and protestees were each candidates; that the close of said election the provincial board of canvassers, after a canvass of the votes of the respective municipalities of said province, declared that each of said candidates had received the following number of votes:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library


Pio Ancheta 3,331

Mauro Ortiz 3,499

Gabriel Tabora 1,989

Vicente Valpiedad 55

Immediately on the announcement of the result election of said provincial board of canvassers the said Pio Ancheta filed the present protest in the Court of First Instance of the Province of La Union. The protestant alleged that certain irregularities and frauds had been practiced in the following municipalities; Bacnotan, San Juan, San Fenando, Bauang, Agoo, Balaoan, Balacan and Tubao.

The protestant alleged that if the illegal votes which had been cast in said municipalities were rejected from the total number of votes cast, that he (Pio Ancheta) would have received a majority of the votes cast.

Each of the candidates were duly notified of the presentation of said protest.

On the 26th day of July, 1916, the protestee, Mauro Ortiz, presented his answer, in which he interposed a general and special defense. In his general defense he denied generally and specifically all of the facts alleged in said protest. In his special defense he alleged that certain frauds and irregularities had been practiced by the municipal board of canvassers in the following municipalities: Luna, Bangar, Santo Tomas and Caba.

On the 26th day of July, 1916, the court appointed, by consent of the parties, the following commissioners for the purpose of hearing the proof to be adduced by the respective parties relating to the frauds and irregularities alleged in their respective protest and answer: Rafael Lete, Cosme Abenoja and H. W. Widdees. Said commissioners entered upon the performance of their duties on the 31st day of July, 1916, and continued their work up until about the 18th day of August, when they made their report. Their report is a very carefully prepared statement relating to the questions presented by the protest and answer. After hearing the respective parties and considering their proof, and an examination of the ballots cast in each of the said municipalities to which the protest related, the commissioners reached the following

"(a) That Mauro Ortiz received —

1. Clear votes 2,458

2. Doubtful votes 194

3. Protested votes 14

"(b) That Pio Ancheta received —

1. Clear votes 2,940

2. Doubtful votes 141

3. Protested votes 18

"(c) That Gabriel Tabora received —

1. Clear votes 1,680

"(d) That Vicente Valpiedad received —

1. Clear votes 50

Said commissioners in their report stated that they had rejected 222 ballots for various reason given.

Upon the presentation of said report the respective parties agreed that the same was correct and exact with reference to the number of ballots, "clear" and "questioned," found in the ballot boxes of the various municipalities. Both parties, however, the protestant as well as the protestee, Mauro Ortiz, asked permission to adduce additional proof with reference to the frauds and irregularities alleged to have been committed in the municipality of Bacnotan: Said permission was granted. Proof was adduced with reference to said alleged frauds, and the cause was submitted to the court for decision.

On the 9th day of May, 1917, the Honorable Manuel Camus, in a very carefully prepared opinion, reached the conclusion that Mauro Ortiz received 3,272.5416/31 legal votes, and that Pio Ancheta had received 3,285.59 1/31 legal votes and issued an order directed to the provincial board of canvassers to correct its return in accordance with said conclusion. It will be noted from the decision of the lower court that each candidate was given the number of votes which he had been accorded in the report of the commissioners except in the municipality of Bacnotan. In said municipality the commissioners gave to Mauro Ortiz 46 votes and to Pio Ancheta 467 votes, while the Court of First Instance, after a careful examination of the ballots, gave to Mauro Ortiz 80.54 16/31 votes and to Pio Ancheta 465.59 1/31 votes. In other words, upon a reexamination of the ballots found in the ballot box in said municipality, the lower court reached the above result after dividing between the various candidates eleven disputed ballots. It was by that means that the lower court reached the conclusion that the candidates received a fraction of a vote. Said eleven votes will be discussed later.

From that decision and made lower court the protestee, Mauro Ortiz, appealed and made several assignments of error, many of which may be discussed together.

The appellant contends that an error was committed by the lower court in not being present and presiding over the sessions of the commissioners during the time they were examining the ballots and hearing proofs relating the alleged frauds and irregularities. The appellant, either personally or by his attorney, was present no objection to the fact that the sessions of said commission were not held in the presence of the court. He gave his consent to the method of conducting the investigation by the commissioners? The doctrine is so well established that it no longer needs the citation of authorities to support it, that, generally, an objection which is not presented in the lower court will not be heard for the for the first time on a appeal. The appellant not only failed to present any objection in the court below, but actually gave his consent to the method of conducting the examination by the commissioners (pp. 2 to 5, stenographic notes.) And moreover, while it is not denied that the commissioners are subject to the control and direction of the court, their work would be of but little assistance to the court if they were required to act in its presence and under its direct supervision. The principal purpose in the appointment of commissioners is to save busy courts from the necessity of the detailed work of counting ballots. That purpose would be completely defeated if, notwithstanding the appointment of commissioners, the court should be required personally to assist in the counting of the votes.

Considering the fact that the parties consented to the method of examining the ballots by the commissioners in the court below without protest, and considering especially the fact that they agreed expressly to the method adopted by said commissioners, were not now inclined to reverse or to modify the conclusion of the lower court upon the first assignment of error. (Hontiveros v. Altavas, 24 Phil. Rep., 632)

The second contention of the appellant is that the lower court committed an error in accepting the report of the commissioners with reference to various municipalities without hearing proofs relating to the frauds and irregularities charged. In answer to that contention it is sufficient to say that the appellant, as well as the appellee, admitted, when the report of the commissioners was presented, that it was true and an exact reference to all of the said municipalities in question, except that of Bacnotan. The proof adduced in the court below by the respective parties was limited to the alleged frauds and irregularities committed in the municipality of Bacnotan. Having thus agreed, and having thus accepted the report of the commissioners, and having failed to present any proof which in any way tended to affect the result reached by said commissioners in all of said municipalities, except Bacnotan, we see no reason now, the objection having been presented for the first time, for modifying the conclusions of the lower court.

The next contention of the appellant is that the municipal board of inspectors of the municipality of Bacnotan committed an error (a) an permitting certain ignorant and incapacitated persons to be assisted by the members of said board without first taking the oath required by law, and (b) in permitting certain persons to vote who had not therefore been duly registered and qualified as voters. Whether or not said errors were committed is a question of fact. Proof relating to said alleged errors was adduced pro and con during the hearing before the lower court. While the proof is in conflict, and while several of the witnesses contradicted themselves frequently upon each of said questions, we are of the opinion that a fair preponderance of the proof adduced shows that neither of said irregularities were committed by the municipal board of inspectors.

In addition to what we have here stated we desire to make that part of the decision of the lower court relating to these particular alleged errors a part of this decision, without the necessity of repeating it here.

The protestee alleged and attempted to prove that ten or eleven persons voted at the election in the municipality of Bacnotan who had not been therefore registered and qualified as voters. While the lower court reached the conclusion that the allegation had not been proved, yet nevertheless, out of the abundance of caution, and without being able to determine for which particular candidate said eleven votes had been cast, it divided the said eleven votes among the respective candidates in proportion to their total votes in said municipality. By the method the lower court reached the conclusion that each of the candidates in the municipality of Bacnotan received a fractional part of a vote. The lower court refused to annual the result of the election even though some persons had voted who were not qualified as voters. This conclusion, of course, was reached after it had found that a preponderance of the evidence shows that no such fact existed. But even though the eleven votes in question had all been given to the protestee, still that would not be sufficient to change the result.

After a careful examination of the record, and for the reason above give, as well as for the reasons given in the decision of the lower court, we are of the opinion and so hold that the judgment of the lower court should be and is hereby affirmed, with costs against the protestee and appellant Mauro Ortiz. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Carson, Araullo, Street, Malcolm, and Avanceña, JJ., concur.

Back to Home | Back to Main

ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review :

ChanRobles MCLE On-line

ChanRobles Lawnet Inc. - ChanRobles MCLE On-line :

December-1917 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. L-11872 December 1, 1917 - DOMINGO MERCADO, ET AL. v. JOSE ESPIRITU

    037 Phil 215

  • G.R. No. L-11933 December 1, 1917 - ALBERTO BARRETTO v. LEONARDO F. BARRETTO ET AL.

    037 Phil 234

  • G.R. No. 11513 December 4, 1917 - LAMBERTO SONGCO v. GEORGE C. SELLNER

    037 Phil 254

  • G.R. No. 12392 December 4, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. FRANCISCO BALABA

    037 Phil 260

  • G.R. No. L-11306 December 6, 1917 - ALEJANDRO IBARRA v. LEOPOLDO AVEYRO, ET AL.

    037 Phil 273

  • G.R. No. L-11717 December 6, 1917 - GO KIAM CO v. LIM TUICO ET AL.

    037 Phil 283

  • G.R. No. L-11325 December 7, 1917 - MONICA G. ROLDAN v. LIM PONZO & CO.

    037 Phil 285

  • G.R. No. L-12739 December 8, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. MARIANO M. GALLEGOS ET AL.

    037 Phil 289

  • G.R. No. L-12934 December 8, 1917 - PIO ANCHETA v. MAURO ORTIZ ET AL.

    037 Phil 295

  • G.R. Nos. L-13013-14 December 11, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. NICOLAS DY JUECO

    037 Phil 301

  • G.R. No. L-13316 December 11, 1917 - L. J. MADARANG ET AL. v. FRANCISCO SANTA MARIA

    037 Phil 304

  • G.R. No. L-12678 December 15, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. MORO JAMAD

    037 Phil 305

  • G.R. No. L-12916 December 16, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. LAURO FONTANILLA

    037 Phil 319

  • G.R. No. L-13085 December 17, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. EXEQUIEL S. VILLALON

    037 Phil 322

  • G.R. No. L-11300 December 20, 1917 - NICASIO CABELLO ET AL. v. ENGRACIA CABELLO ET AL.

    037 Phil 328

  • G.R. No. L-12462 December 20, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. SIMEON GUENDIA

    037 Phil 337

  • G.R. No. L-13020 December 20, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. JOAQUIN PABALN ET AL.

    037 Phil 352

  • G.R. No. 11176 December 21, 1917 - MARCIANO RIVERA v. ONG CHE

    037 Phil 355

  • G.R. No. L-12855 December 21, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. ROQUE DATO, ET AL.

    037 Phil 359

  • G.R. No. 12644 December 22, 1917 - UNITED STATES v. LEON MORALES ET AL

    037 Phil 364