RULE 15. Jurisdiction. – The Tribunal is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives.
To be considered a Member of the House of Representatives, there must be a concurrence of the following requisites: (1) a valid proclamation; (2) a proper oath; and (3) assumption of office.
RULE 16. How Initiated. – An election contest is initiated by the filing of a verified election protest or a verified petition for quo warranto against a Member of the House of Representatives. An election protest and a petition for quo warranto may be combined in one case, provided the parties are the same.
RULE 17. Election Protest. – A verified election protest contesting the election or returns of any Member of the House of Representatives shall be filed by any candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for the same office, within fifteen (15) days from June 30 of the election year or the date of actual assumption to office, whichever is later.
It can only be filed by the candidates who obtained the second or third highest number of votes. The party filing the protest shall be designated as the protestant, while the adverse party shall be known as the protestee.
An election protest shall state:
(1) The date of proclamation of the winner and the number of votes obtained by the parties per proclamation;
(2) The total number of contested individual and clustered precincts per municipality or city;
(3) The individual and clustered precinct numbers and location of the contested precincts;
(4) The specific acts or omissions complained of constituting the electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities in the contested precincts; and
(5) A statement as to whether or not there is a need for a revision of ballots.
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. Thus, where there are two or more protests involving the same protestee and common principal causes of action, the subsequent protests may be consolidated with the earlier case to avoid unnecessary costs or delay. In case of objection to the consolidation, the Tribunal shall resolve the same.
The protest is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read it and that the allegations therein are true and correct based on affiant's personal knowledge or authentic records. A verification based on “information and belief,” or upon “knowledge, information and belief,” is a defective verification and a ground for dismissal.
The protest shall contain a sworn certification that: (a) protestant has not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his or her knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if protestant should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he or she shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the Tribunal.
The running of the reglementary period to file the protest shall not be suspended if the election protest is unverified, unaccompanied by a certification against forum shopping, or contains an insufficient or defective verification or defective certification against forum shopping.
RULE 18. Quo Warranto. – A verified petition for quo warranto on the ground of ineligibility may be filed by any registered voter of the congressional district concerned, or any registered voter in the case of party-list representatives, within fifteen (15) days from June 30 of the election year or the date of the actual assumption to office, whichever is later. The party filing the petition shall be designated as the petitioner, while the adverse party shall be known as the respondent.
The provisions of the preceding paragraph to the contrary notwithstanding, a petition for quo warranto may be filed by any registered voter of the district concerned against a Member of the House of Representatives, on the ground of citizenship, at anytime during said Member's tenure. A petition for quo warranto may also be filed at anytime for grounds that occur during the term of office of the winning candidate.
The rules on verification, consolidation, certification against forum shopping and case information sheet provided in Rule 17 hereof shall apply to petitions for quo warranto.
RULE 19. Damages. – Damages may be sought and granted in election protests or quo warranto proceedings in accordance with law.
RULE 20. Ad Cautelam Cases. – An election protest or petition for quo warranto filed ad cautelam shall be assigned with an undocketed (UDK) number. No summons shall be issued unless the case is converted into a regular election protest or petition for quo warranto.
After thirty (30) days from filing, an order shall be issued to the protestant or the petitioner, as the case may be, directing him or her to manifest, within ten (10) days from notice, whether the ad cautelam case can already be converted into a regular election protest or petition for quo warranto.
Nevertheless, an ad cautelam case shall comply with the requirements set forth in Rules 17 and 18, as the case may be, and the payment of the required filing fee and cash deposit.
RULE 21. Periods Non-Extendible. – The period for the filing of the appropriate protest or petition, as prescribed in Rules 17 and 18, is jurisdictional and cannot be extended. If the last day falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, the last day for filing the appropriate protest or petition shall fall on the next working day.
RULE 22. Filing with the Tribunal. – Election protests and petitions for quo warranto shall be filed either personally with the Office of the Secretary of the Tribunal or by registered mail addressed to the Secretary of the Tribunal, together with fifteen (15) clearly legible copies thereof.
If filed personally, the Secretary of the Tribunal shall inscribe on the protest or petition the date and 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 envelope or the registry receipt, shall be considered as the date of its filing with the Tribunal. The envelope shall be attached to the records of the case. It shall likewise be accompanied by a postal money order to cover the filing fees and cash deposit as prescribed by these Rules. Filing by registered mail is not encouraged, and failure to attach the postal money order for all the prescribed fees and charges is a ground for dismissal.
RULE 23. Summary Dismissal of Election Contest. – An election protest or petition for quo warranto may be summarily dismissed by the Tribunal without the necessity of requiring the protestee or respondent to answer if, inter alia:
(1) It is insufficient in form and substance;
(2) It is filed beyond the periods provided in Rules 17 and 18 of these Rules;
(3) It does not contain a verification or the verification is defective;
(4) It does not conform to the prescribed form of certification against forum shopping under Rules 17 and 18, or if related pending cases are not specified in said certification;
(5) The petition or protest or copies thereof and the annexes thereto filed with the Tribunal are not clearly legible;
(6) The full amount of filing fee and other legal fees are not paid within the periods provided for filing the protest or petition for quo warranto;
(7) In case of a protest where a cash deposit is required, the cash deposit, or the first one hundred fifty thousand pesos (P150,000.00) thereof, is not paid within ten (10) days after the filing of the protest; and
(8) If the filing of the petition or protest is by registered mail and there is a failure to attach the postal money order for all the prescribed fees and expenses to said petition or protest.
For this purpose, the Secretary of the Tribunal shall, upon receipt of the petition, prepare a report and calendar the same for appropriate action by the Tribunal or the Executive Committee.
This rule shall likewise apply to counter-protests.
ANSWER AND COUNTER-PROTEST
RULE 24. Summons. – If the protest or petition is not summarily dismissed in accordance with Rule 23 of these Rules, the Secretary of the Tribunal shall issue the corresponding summons to the protestee or respondent, as the case may be, together with a copy of the protest or petition, requiring him or her to file an answer within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt thereof.
The summons shall be served by handing copies of the summons and of the election protest or the quo warranto petition to the protestee or the respondent in person or, in case of protestee’s or respondent’s refusal to receive or sign proof of receipt of these copies, by tendering it to him or her. Service of summons in this manner is complete upon such tender.
If for justifiable causes, the protestee or respondent cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding paragraph, service may be effected:
(a) By leaving copies of the summons at the residence of the respondent or protestee with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein; or
(b) By leaving copies at his or her office or regular place of business with some competent person in charge thereof.
In cases filed involving legislative districts outside of Metro Manila, summons may be served through registered mail. Service by registered mail is complete upon actual receipt by the protestee or respondent, or after five (5) days from the date of receipt of the first notice from the postmaster, whichever date is earlier.
Service by registered mail shall be made by depositing copies of the summons and of the election protest or the quo warranto petition, in a sealed envelope, plainly addressed to the protestee or respondent at the latter's residence on record, with postage fully pre-paid, and with instructions to the postmaster to return the mail to the Tribunal after ten (10) calendar days if undelivered.
RULE 25. Answer. – The answer must be verified and may set forth special and affirmative defenses and a counterclaim. The protestee may incorporate in the answer a counter-protest. The answer shall be filed in fifteen (15) clearly legible copies with proof of service of a copy upon the protestant or petitioner within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt of the summons and a copy of the protest or petition.
If filed in a separate pleading, a counter-protest must be verified and filed in fifteen (15) clearly legible copies with proof of service of a copy upon the protestant within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt of the summons and a copy of the protest.
The counter-protestant shall pay the appropriate filing fees and cash deposit. Otherwise, the counter-protest shall be dismissed.
RULE 26. Answer to Counterclaim or Counter-Protest. – The answer to counterclaim or counter-protest must be verified and filed in fifteen (15) clearly legible copies within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt of counterclaim or counter-protest.
RULE 27. Motion to Dismiss; Motion for Bill of Particulars. – No motion to dismiss or motion for a bill of particulars shall be entertained. Grounds for a motion to dismiss shall be pleaded as affirmative defenses in the appropriate responsive pleadings allowed under Rules 25 and 26. The Tribunal may, in its discretion, hold a preliminary hearing on any of the grounds so pleaded.
RULE 28. Extensions of Time. – No motion for extension of any of the periods fixed in Rules 24, 25 and 26 shall be entertained.
RULE 29. Failure to Answer; Effect. – If no answer to the protest, counter-protest, or the petition for quo warranto is filed within the period fixed in these Rules, a general denial shall be deemed to have been entered.
RULE 30. Amendments; Limitations. – Pleadings may be amended by adding or striking out an allegation, or by correcting a mistake in the name of a party or a mistaken or inadequate allegation or description in any other respect, so that the actual merits of the controversy may be speedily determined, without regard to technicalities, and in the most expeditious and inexpensive manner.
(a) Amendments as a matter of right. A party may amend his or her pleading once as a matter of right at any time before a responsive pleading is served.
(b) Amendments by leave of the Tribunal. Except as provided in the next paragraph, substantial amendments may be made only upon leave of the Tribunal, but such leave may be refused if it appears to the Tribunal that the amendment was made with intent to delay. Orders of the Tribunal upon the matters provided in this rule shall be made only upon motion duly filed with the Tribunal, and after notice to the adverse party, and an opportunity to be heard.
(c) Formal amendments. A defect in the designation of the parties and other clearly clerical or typographical errors may be summarily corrected by the Tribunal at any stage of the action, at its initiative or on motion, provided no prejudice is caused thereby to the adverse party.
(d) Answer to an Admitted Amended Protest or Petition. When the Tribunal admits an amended protest or petition, it may require the other party to answer the same within a non-extendible period of ten calendar (10) days from service of a copy of the amended protest or petition and of the resolution admitting the same.
RULE 31. Admission by Adverse Party –
(a) Request for Admission. – At anytime after issues have been joined, a party may file and serve upon any other party a written request for the admission by the latter of the truth of any material and relevant matter of fact pertinent to the subject matter of the protest or petition or of the genuineness of any material and relevant document/s described in and attached to the request. The request for admission containing averments in the protest or petition is allowed. The Tribunal shall be furnished with a copy of said request.
(b) Implied Admission. – Within a period designated in the request for admission, which shall not be less than fifteen (15) days after service thereof, or within such further time as the Tribunal may allow on motion, the party to whom the request is directed shall file and serve upon the party requesting the admission a sworn statement containing categorical answers to the request for admission. Each of the matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted in case of failure to file and serve said sworn statement. The party to whom the request is directed may deny specifically the matters of which an admission is requested or set forth in detail the reasons why he or she cannot admit or deny those matters. A general denial that said party is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the veracity of the matters of which an admission is requested is prohibited and shall have the effect of an implied admission. The Tribunal shall likewise be furnished with a copy of the sworn statement. No objection shall be made to the request for admission as such objection can be incorporated in the sworn statement itself.
(c) Effect of Admission. – Any admission made by a party pursuant to such request is for the purpose of the pending action only and shall not constitute an admission by said party for any other purpose nor may the same be used against him or her in any other proceeding.
(d) Withdrawal. – The Tribunal may allow the party making an admission under this Rule, whether express or implied, to withdraw or amend it upon such terms as may be just.
(e) Effect of failure to file and serve request for admission. – A party who fails to file and serve a request for admission on the adverse party of material and relevant facts at issue which are, or ought to be, within the personal knowledge of the latter, shall not be permitted to present evidence on such facts.
RULE 32. Other Pleadings; How Filed. – Except for the initiatory petitions for quo warranto or election protests which the Tribunal itself serves on the adverse party, all other pleadings shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of the Tribunal in fifteen (15) clearly legible copies and must be accompanied with proof of service upon the adverse party or parties. Whenever practicable, the service and filing of pleadings, motions and other papers shall be done personally. A resort to other modes must be accompanied by a written explanation why personal service is not practicable.
The Tribunal shall impose sanctions on any party who abuses the rule on personal service of pleadings by resorting to service by registered mail to delay the case.
All pleadings, motions and other papers filed with the Tribunal in connection with electoral cases pending before other tribunals, courts or agencies shall likewise be accompanied by proof of service upon the adverse party or parties in said electoral cases.
No action shall be taken on pleadings that fail to comply with the foregoing requirements.
RULE 33. Proof of Service. – Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the party served, or an affidavit of service of the party serving, containing a full statement of the date, place and manner of service. If service is made by registered mail, proof shall be established through such affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return 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.
FILING FEES, CASH DEPOSITS
AND OTHER LEGAL FEES
RULE 34. Filing Fees. – No protest, counter-protest or petition for quo warranto shall be deemed filed without the payment to the Tribunal of the filing fee in the amount of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00).
If a claim for damages or attorney’s fees is set forth in a protest, counter-protest or petition for quo warranto, an additional filing fee shall be paid, which shall be, if the sum claimed is:
(1) More than P 20,000.00 but less than P 40,000.00 ………. P 1,000.00
(2) P 40,000.00 or more but less than P 60,000.00 ………. P 1,500.00
(3) P 60,000.00 or more but less than P 80,000.00 ….……. P 2,000.00
(4) P 80,000.00 or more but less than P 100,000.00 ………. P 2,500.00
(5) P 100,000.00 or more but less than P 150,000.00 ..……... P 3,000.00
For every P 1,000.00 in excess of P 150,000.00 ………....
Where the protest, counter-protest or petition for quo warranto is filed by registered mail, it must be accompanied by a postal money order in the amount of the corresponding filing fees.
The required fees must be fully paid within the period prescribed in Rules 17 (Election Protest), 18 (Quo Warranto), 25 (Answer) and 26 (Answer to Counterclaim or Counter-Protest) of these Rules.
The payment of filing fees herein provided for the filing of a protest, counter-protest or petition for quo warranto is jurisdictional and failure to pay the mandated amounts within the reglementary period for filing the same shall be a ground for dismissal.
RULE 35. Cash Deposit. – In addition to the fees prescribed in the preceding Rule, each protestant, counter-protestant or petitioner in quo warranto shall make a cash deposit with the Tribunal in the following amounts:
(1) In a petition for quo warranto, ten thousand pesos (P 10,000.00) to be paid within ten (10) calendar days after the filing of the petition.
(2) If the protest or counter-protest does not require the bringing to the Tribunal of the ballot boxes, copies of election returns as well as other election documents and paraphernalia from the district concerned, ten thousand pesos (P 10,000.00) to be paid within ten (10) calendar days after the filing of the protest or counter-protest.
(3) If the protest or counter-protest requires the bringing of ballot boxes, copies of election returns and other election documents and paraphernalia, three thousand pesos (P 3,000.00) for each clustered precinct involved therein. If, as thus computed, the amount of the deposit does not exceed one hundred fifty thousand pesos (P 150,000.00), the same shall be paid in full with the Tribunal within ten (10) calendar days after the filing of the protest or counter-protest.
(4) If the required deposit exceeds one hundred fifty thousand pesos (P 150,000.00), a partial cash deposit of at least one hundred fifty thousand pesos (P 150,000.00), shall be made within ten (10) calendar days after the filing of the protest or counter-protest. The balance shall be paid in such installments as may be required by the Tribunal on at least five (5) calendar days advance notice to the party required to make a cash deposit.
The cash deposit shall be applied by the Tribunal to the payment of all expenses incidental to the disposition of the case, including, but not limited to, in the case of protest, the bringing of the ballot boxes, copies of election returns as well as other election documents and paraphernalia to the Tribunal, and returning them to their original official custodians after the case is terminated, storage fees, the compensation of the Revisors, expenses relating to technical examination incidental to the revision but not limited to essential supplies and services, and other miscellaneous expenses (i.e. padlocks, self-locking seals, customized envelopes, and copying of electronic data contained in data storage devices) and all other expenses relating to the proceedings and adjudication of the protest or petition.
Failure to pay the cash deposit within the prescribed period shall be a ground for the dismissal of the protest, counter-protest or petition.
Any unused cash deposit shall be returned to the party or parties who paid the same after complete termination of the protest, counter-protest or petition for quo warranto. Any unused cash deposit which remains unclaimed for a period of two years from receipt of notice authorizing release thereof shall be deemed forfeited in favor of the Tribunal.
When circumstances so demand, the Tribunal may require additional cash deposit. If a party fails to make the additional cash deposits within the period prescribed by the Tribunal, it may dismiss the protest or counter-protest.
RULE 36. Other Legal Fees. – The following legal fees shall be charged and collected for:
(1) Certified transcripts of records or copies of any record, decision, resolution or entry of which any person is entitled to demand and receive a copy, for each page ……………………………Twenty Pesos (P 20.00);
(2) Certified transcripts of notes taken by stenographers to every person requesting the same, for each page of not less than two hundred and fifty words, for each page ten pesos (P 10.00) provided, however, that one-fourth (1/4) of the total charges shall go to the Tribunal and the remaining three-fourths (3/4) to the stenographer concerned;
(3) Research fee for any record relating to a previous case …………………………Two Hundred Pesos (P 200.00); and
(4) Other Certifications……………One Hundred Pesos (P 100.00).
PRODUCTION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
RULE 37. Issuance of precautionary order. – Where the allegations in a protest so warrant, the Tribunal shall, simultaneous with the issuance of summons, order the municipal or city treasurer and election officer, and the responsible personnel and custodian to take immediate steps or measures to safeguard the integrity of all the ballot boxes and their contents, lists of voters with voting records, books of voters, and other documents or paraphernalia used in the election, as well as data storage devices containing electronic data evidencing the conduct and the results of elections in the contested precincts.
RULE 38. When Ballot Boxes, Election Returns and Other Election Documents Brought before the Tribunal. – Where the allegations in a protest or counter-protest so warrant, or whenever in its opinion the interest of justice so demands, the Tribunal shall immediately also order all the ballot boxes containing the ballots and their keys, copies of election returns whenever the protest particularly questions the authenticity of the contents of the returns, list of voters with voting records, books of voters, data storage devices containing electronic data evidencing the content and results of the election, and other documents or paraphernalia used in the election to be brought before the Tribunal. Certified copies of the Statement of Votes by the Board of Canvassers in all the municipalities of the district or of the city concerned shall also be obtained. Upon receipt thereof, they shall be kept and held secured in the offices of the Tribunal or in any designated storage area under the care and custody of the Canvass Board Service, under the supervision of the Secretary of the Tribunal and under the authority of the Chairperson.
Where any of the ballot boxes, ballots, election returns, election documents or paraphernalia mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph are also involved in election contests before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) or the regular courts, in appropriate cases, the Tribunal shall exert every effort to synchronize the examination and revision of ballots in the other Tribunals, the Comelec or the regular courts, as the case may be.
The Tribunal, if warranted, may seek the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or other law enforcing agencies to safeguard the integrity of the ballot boxes and all documents subject of Rule 37 while in the custody of the municipal treasurer, election officer or custodian and to ensure the safe delivery thereof and the corresponding keys thereof to the Tribunal. For this purpose, a Memorandum of Agreement shall be executed between the PNP, the AFP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for effective and strict implementation.
The expenses necessary and incidental to the bringing of the ballot boxes, copies of election returns and other election documents or paraphernalia before the Tribunal, and returning them after the termination of the case, including the storage fees, the compensation of the Revisors, and all expenses incidental to the revision, shall be charged against the party requesting the revision and shall be paid from his or her cash deposit.
REVISION OF BALLOTS