TECHNICAL EXAMINATION

RULE 41. Scope of Technical Examination. – Only election documents that are allowed by the Tribunal to be examined shall be subjected to technical examination.

RULE 42. Motion for Technical Examination; Contents. – Within five (5) days after completion of each revision proceeding, either party may move for a technical examination, specifying:

(1) The nature of the technical examination requested (fingerprint examination, etc.);
(2) The documents or objects to be subjected to technical examination;
(3) The objections made in the course of the revision of ballots which the movant intends to substantiate with the results of the technical examination; and
(4) The ballots covered by such objections.

RULE 43. Technical Examination; Time Limits. – The Tribunal may, in its discretion, grant a motion for technical examination provided it is included in the stipulations during the preliminary conference, under such conditions as the Tribunal may impose. If granted, the movant shall schedule the technical examination, to start within ten (10) calendar days from the time the movant was notified of the resolution or order granting the same.

The movant shall notify the other party and the Secretary of the Tribunal at least five (5) days before the scheduled technical examination. The technical examination shall be completed within the period allowed by the Tribunal. The other party may attend the technical examination, either personally or through a representative, but the technical examination shall proceed regardless of the other party's presence, provided said other party has been given due notice thereof.

Where more than one party so request, the technical examinations shall, as far as practicable, be conducted simultaneously.

The technical examination shall be conducted at the expense of the moving party, in the offices of the Tribunal or such other place as the Tribunal may designate, and at every instance, under the supervision of the Secretary of the Tribunal, or a duly authorized representative.

RULE 44. Experts; Who Shall Provide. – The Tribunal shall appoint experts from any government agency to conduct the technical examination. Either party may, however, avail of the assistance of his or her own expert who may observe, but in no case interfere with, the examination being conducted by the team of experts.

RULE 45. Technical Examination Not Interrupted. – Once started, the technical examination shall continue every working day until completed or until the expiration of the period granted for such purpose.

RULE 46. Extension of Period for Technical Examination; When Granted. – An extension of the period for conducting technical examination shall be disallowed except upon a clear showing that the party conducting the examination has diligently utilized the period originally granted the party for that purpose, but for compelling reasons not imputable to the party, could not finish the technical examination within the period originally granted.
SUBPOENAS

RULE 47. Who May Issue. – Subpoena ad testificandum or duces tecum may be issued by the Tribunal motu proprio, or upon motion of any of the parties.

RULE 48. Form and Contents. – A subpoena shall be signed by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of the Tribunal. It shall state the name of the Tribunal, the docket number and title of the action and shall be directed to the person whose attendance is required. In the case of a subpoena duces tecum, it shall also contain a particular description of the books, documents or objects demanded.

RULE 49. Authority of Hearing Commissioners to Issue Subpoena; Parties to File Proper Motion. – Hearing Commissioners are authorized by the Tribunal to issue subpoenas in cases assigned to them.

The party requesting for the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum or duces tecum shall file the proper motion within ten (10) 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 said period shall be considered a waiver of the right to compel attendance of the witness or the production of the documents concerned.

RECEPTION OF EVIDENCE

RULE 50. Pre-Trial.


(a) Pre-Trial Brief. – After the issues shall have been joined, the Tribunal, through the Secretary, shall issue a notice of pre-trial and shall order the parties to submit their respective pre-trial briefs, which shall contain the following:

(1) The pilot precincts which the protestant and the protestee, as the case may be, may designate pursuant to Rule 40;
(2) A summary of admitted facts and proposed stipulation of facts;
(3) The determination of issues to be tried or resolved;
(4) The pre-marked documents or exhibits to be presented, including depositions, answer to interrogatories and answers to written request for admission by adverse party, stating the purpose thereof;
(5) The judicial affidavits of witnesses in accordance with the form prescribed under A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC otherwise known as the Judicial Affidavit Rule; and
(6) A subject index with digest of the arguments and a table of cases alphabetically arranged, textbooks and statutes cited with references to the pages where they are cited.

(b) Preliminary Conference before the Hearing Commissioner – The Tribunal may refer the election contest to a Hearing Commissioner for a preliminary conference for the following purposes:

(1) To simplify the issues;
(2) To obtain possible stipulations or admission of facts and of documents;
(3) To limit the number of witnesses;
(4) To mark the documents or exhibits and the affidavits of witnesses which shall be in question and answer form and shall constitute as the direct examination, subject to cross-examination;
(5) To ascertain from the parties the undisputed facts and admissions on the genuineness and due execution of the documents marked as exhibits;
(6) To consider the withdrawal of some contested or counter-protested precincts (especially those where, inter alia, the ballots are unavailable due to the existence of protests concerning other positions involving the same ballots or are missing and cannot be located or destroyed due to natural disasters or calamities);
(7) To consider 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 such causes of action or defenses or issues which are unrelated to the ballots or election documents;
(8) To consider such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the protest, counter-protest or petition;
(9) To record the proceedings in the “Minutes of the Preliminary Conference” to be signed by both parties or their counsels; and
(10) To attach the Minutes together with the marked exhibits before the pre-trial conference.

(c) Pre-Trial Conference. – At the pre-trial conference, the Tribunal shall:

(1) Adopt the minutes of preliminary conference as part of the pre-trial proceedings and confirm markings of exhibits or substituted photocopies and admissions on the genuineness and due execution of documents;
(2) Inquire if the pleadings are in order. If not, order the amendments if necessary;
(3) Inquire if interlocutory issues are involved and resolve the same;
(4) Define and simplify the factual and legal issues arising from the pleadings. If only legal issues are presented, the Tribunal shall require the parties to submit their respective memoranda and the Tribunal can proceed to render judgment; and
(5) Determine the most important witnesses to be heard and limit the number of witnesses. The facts to be proven by each witness and the approximate number of hours per witness shall be fixed.

The Tribunal may delegate to the Member assigned to the case the authority to preside over the Pre-Trial Conference, provided that any other Member may participate in said pre-trial.

The Tribunal shall thereafter issue the corresponding Pre-Trial Order. Within three (3) days from receipt of the Order, the parties may file their respective comments thereon.

The presentation of witnesses and other documentary evidence in excess of that declared by a party shall be deemed waived. The Tribunal, however, shall allow their presentation upon showing of meritorious reasons why these witnesses and/or documentary evidence could not have been identified or marked during the pre-trial conference in a proper motion. All other testimonial and documentary evidence not identified or marked during the preliminary conference shall no longer be allowed at the trial.

(d) Effect of Failure to Appear or Submit Pre-Trial Brief. – The Tribunal may dismiss the protest, counter-protest or quo warranto petition, as the case may be, for failure of the protestant, counter-protestant or petitioner to appear at the preliminary conference or Pre-Trial Conference or to submit a pre-trial brief, or for submission of an incomplete Pre-Trial brief. Otherwise, the Tribunal may proceed with the Pre-Trial Conference on the basis of the pre-trial briefs filed and may hold the guilty party in contempt or impose appropriate sanctions or penalty, or both.

RULE 51. Hearings; Hearing Commissioner; Qualifications. – The Tribunal may delegate the hearing of cases or the reception of evidence to a Hearing Commissioner.

Any Member of the Tribunal or any of its lawyers may be designated as Hearing Commissioner.

RULE 52. Reception of Evidence by Hearing Commissioner. – Reception of evidence by a Hearing Commissioner may be done at the offices of the Tribunal, unless the Tribunal, for good cause, directs the reception of evidence in some other place.

In case of consolidated cases, the reception of evidence shall be delegated to the Hearing Commissioner and the Deputy Hearing Commissioner to whom the earlier case was assigned.

The reception of testimonial evidence on matters or issues aliunde may be done even during the revision of the ballots.

Presentation of evidence on all other matters or issues arising from the revision of ballots and/or technical examination of questioned documents shall be made: (a) simultaneous with 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 documents, if any.

RULE 53. Procedure of Hearings. – Reception of evidence may proceed, even in the absence of the other party, provided he or she has been duly notified of the hearing. In such a case, the absent party shall be deemed to have waived the right to cross-examine a witness whose testimony on direct 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 next scheduled hearing, giving notice of such adjournment to the absent party, or to his or her counsel. The delay shall be charged against the period allowed the absent party for the presentation of evidence.

Unless the Hearing Commissioner or the Tribunal directs otherwise, the order of hearing shall be as follows:

(1) The protestant or petitioner shall adduce evidence in support of the protest or petition for quo warranto;
(2) The protestee, subject to Rule 40, or the respondent shall then adduce evidence to support his or her defenses, counterclaim or counter-protest; and
(3) The protestant or petitioner, subject to the approval of the Tribunal, may then present rebuttal evidence.

No sur-rebuttal evidence shall be allowed.

RULE 54. Rulings in Hearings before Tribunal. – During hearings before the Tribunal, the Chairperson, or in his or her absence, the presiding Justice, shall decide all questions raised in connection with the examination of witnesses and the admission of evidence, and his or her rulings shall be deemed as a ruling by the Tribunal. If a Member should request that a question be discussed and decided upon consultation, the Chairperson, or the Justice presiding shall act only after the matter has been voted upon.

RULE 55. Hearing Commissioner to Rule on Objections. – The Hearing Commissioner shall rule on objections made in the course of the hearing.

The ruling of the Hearing Commissioner shall no longer be subject to review by the Tribunal but may, in a memorandum to be submitted pursuant to Rule 67, be assigned as an error by the party adversely affected thereby.

RULE 56. Time Limit for Presentation of Evidence. - Each party is given a period of ten (10) successive working days to complete the presentation and formal offer of evidence. This period shall begin to run from the first date set for the presentation of the party’s evidence, either before the Tribunal or before a Hearing Commissioner, and shall continue every working day thereafter until completed. Upon motion based on meritorious grounds, the Tribunal may grant a ten-working-day extension of the period herein fixed.

Each witness shall be presented on the specific hearing date previously fixed, and the examination shall be completed in one day. However, the Tribunal, at its discretion, or the Hearing Commissioner, during trial, may extend the direct and/or cross-examination of witnesses upon a showing of justifiable reasons.

The hearing for any particular day or days may be postponed or cancelled on meritorious grounds upon the request of the party presenting evidence, provided, however, that the delay caused thereby shall be charged against said party’s period for presenting evidence.

The following shall not be charged against the period allotted to either party:

(1) The period when presentation of the party’s evidence is suspended by order of the Tribunal or the Hearing Commissioner because of the pendency 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 or her witnesses by the other party.

A party may present rebuttal evidence, if allowed by the Tribunal, during the remainder of the ten-day-period or the extension thereof, if any, that has not been utilized for the presentation of his or her evidence-in-chief.

RULE 57. Formal Offer of Evidence.

The Tribunal shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified. Unless otherwise ordered by the Tribunal, the formal offer of evidence, the comment thereon, and the ruling shall be made orally.

As regards the testimony of a witness, the offer must be made at the time the witness is called to testify.

A party is required to make an oral offer of documentary and object evidence on the same date as the presentation of the last witness, and the opposing party is required to immediately interpose an objection thereto. Thereafter, the ruling on the offer of evidence shall be made in open court.

In making the offer, the counsel shall cite the specific page numbers of the court record where the exhibits being offered are found if attached thereto. If the exhibits are not attached to the record, the party making the offer must submit the same during the offer of evidence in open court. The Tribunal shall always ensure that all exhibits offered are submitted on the same day.

An offer of evidence in writing shall be objected to within three (3) days after notice unless a different period is allowed by the Tribunal. In any case, the grounds for the objections must be specified.

RULE 58. Evidence not Offered and Admitted. – Evidence not offered and admitted shall not be considered in deciding the case except the revision reports, being official records of Tribunal proceedings.

RULE 59. Disputable Presumptions. – The following are disputable presumptions:

(a) On the election procedure:

(1) The election of candidates was held on the date and time set and in the polling place determined by the Comelec;
(2) The Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) was duly constituted and organized;
(3) Political parties and candidates were duly represented by poll watchers;
(4) Poll watchers were able to perform their functions; and
(5) The minutes of voting and counting of votes contains all the incidents that transpired before the BEIs.

(b) On election paraphernalia:

(1) The ballots and election returns that bear the security markings and features prescribed by the Comelec are genuine;
(2) The data and information supplied by the members of the BEIs in the accountable forms are true and correct;
(3) The allocation, packing and distribution of election documents or paraphernalia were properly and timely done; and
(4) The automated election system chosen, the consolidation machines and the data storage devices are all in order, and the data generated reflect the activities entered in these electronic machines and devices.

(c) On appreciation of ballots:

(1) A ballot with appropriate security markings is valid;
(2) The ballot reflects the intent of the voter;
(3) A voter personally prepared one ballot, except in the case of assistors; and
(4) The exercise of one’s right to vote was voluntary and free.

RULE 60. Electronic Evidence.- Electronic documents or electronic data messages may be used, offered and admitted in evidence in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court on electronic evidence.

Upon motion duly made based on demonstrated need or motu proprio, the Tribunal may order the Comelec to provide the moving party or the Tribunal access to, or to recover and use, electronic data from the Comelec under conditions and safeguards required by the Comelec.

EVIDENCE BY DEPOSITION

RULE 61. Evidence by Deposition; When Allowed. –

(a) Before the termination of the Pre-Trial, with leave of the Tribunal, any party may take the deposition of witnesses in lieu of presenting them before the Tribunal or a Hearing Commissioner. Otherwise, the deposition shall not be admitted.

(b) The period used by a party for taking depositions shall be charged against the ten (10)-day-period or extended period allotted for the presentation of evidence.

RULE 62. When Commenced; Contents of Notice. – The taking of the deposition shall commence within ten (10) days from receipt of the notice by the officer designated by the Tribunal to take the deposition of the witnesses or at the earliest date said designated officer shall be available for the taking of the deposition. No deposition shall be taken unless notice thereof has been given to the other party at least five (5) days in advance of the taking of such deposition. Such notice shall state the venue, which must be a public office; the time of the taking of the deposition; the officer before whom the deposition shall be taken; and the names and addresses of the deponents.

RULE 63. Who May Take Depositions. – Depositions may be taken before any of the following officers who may be designated by the corresponding Executive Judge upon the request of the Tribunal:

(1) Any judge of the Regional Trial Court; or
(2) Any judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court; the Municipal Trial Court in Cities; the Municipal Trial Court; or the Municipal Circuit Trial Court.

The officer taking the deposition shall not be related to any of the parties or counsel within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. An objection on the ground of relationship shall be made to the Executive Judge within two (2) days after notification of the designation.

RULE 64. Cross-Examination of Witnesses. – The opposing party shall have the right to attend the taking of the deposition and cross-examine the witnesses presented. Failure to attend shall be deemed a waiver of such right.

Objections to questions asked during the taking of depositions shall be ruled upon by the judge taking the deposition, subject to review by the Tribunal.

RULE 65. Submission of Depositions. – The officer taking the deposition shall, within ten (10) days thereafter, submit to the Tribunal the original and fourteen (14) copies of the deposition taken, together with the exhibits presented in the course of the deposition proceeding, with proof of service upon the parties.

DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE

RULE 66. Demurrer to Evidence. –After the protestant, counter-protestant or petitioner has completed the presentation of evidence, the protestee, counter-protestee or respondent may file a motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence and correspondingly move for dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and the law the protestant, counter-protestant or petitioner has shown no right to relief. If the motion is denied, he or she shall have the right to present evidence. If the motion is granted but on certiorari, the order of dismissal is reversed, he or she shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence.

MEMORANDA

RULE 67. When Submitted; Contents. – Within ten (10) days from receipt of the Tribunal’s ruling on the last offer of evidence by the protestee or respondent, the parties shall submit their respective memoranda simultaneously, setting forth briefly:

(1) The facts of the case;
(2) A complete statement of all the arguments, laws and jurisprudence in support of their respective claim; and
(3) Objections to the ballots contested or claimed by the other party in the revision of ballots.

All evidence, as well as objections to evidence presented by the other party, shall be referred to or contained either in the memorandum or in appendices thereto.

RULE 68. Supplemental Reply or Rebuttal Memorandum. – No supplemental reply or rebuttal memorandum shall be entertained.

VOTING

RULE 69. Votes Required. – In resolving all questions submitted to the Tribunal, all the Members present, inclusive of the Chairperson, shall vote.

Except as provided in Rule 5(b) of these Rules, the concurrence of at least five (5) Members shall be necessary for the rendition of decisions and the adoption of formal resolutions, provided that, in cases where a Member inhibits or cannot take part in the deliberations, a majority vote of the remaining Members shall be sufficient.

This is without prejudice to the authority of the Supreme Court or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, to designate Special Member or Members who should act as temporary replacement or replacements in cases where one or some of Members of the Tribunal inhibits from a case or is disqualified from participating in the deliberations of a particular election contest, provided that:

(1) The option herein provided should be resorted only when the required quorum in order for the Tribunal to proceed with the hearing of the election contest, or in making the final determination of the case, or in arriving at decisions or resolutions thereof, cannot be met; and
(2) Unless otherwise provided, the designation of the Special Member as replacement shall only be temporary and limited only to the specific case where the inhibition or disqualification was made.

DECISIONS

RULE 70. Procedure in Deciding Contests. – In rendering its decisions or final resolutions, the Tribunal shall follow the procedure prescribed for the Supreme Court in Sections 13 and 14, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution.

RULE 71. Promulgation and Notice of Decisions. – After the decision, along with separate, concurring or dissenting opinions, if any, is signed, it shall be delivered for filing to the Secretary of the Tribunal who shall forthwith indicate thereon the date of promulgation and cause true copies thereof to be served upon the parties, or if represented through their counsel, personally, by private courier or by registered special delivery mail.

RULE 72. Finality and Execution of Decisions; Motion for Reopening or Reconsideration. – The decision shall become final and executory as against a party ten (10) days after receipt of a copy thereof if no motion for reconsideration is seasonably filed.

No motion for the reopening of a case shall be entertained.

A party may file a motion for reconsideration within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of a copy of the decision, with proof of service thereof on the adverse party. A second motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading and shall not be entertained.

Unless so required by the Tribunal, the adverse party need not file an opposition to or comment on the motion for reconsideration.

If a motion for reconsideration is denied, the decision shall become final and executory as against a party after five (5) days from service upon him or her of a copy of the resolution disposing of the motion for reconsideration. If a motion for reconsideration is granted, the party adversely affected by the grant may move to reconsider it within ten (10) days from receipt of a copy 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 73. Entry of Judgment. – The judgment shall be entered or recorded by the Secretary of the Tribunal after the decision shall have become final and executory, if neither of the parties is able to secure a restraining order or similar staying relief from the Supreme Court within five (5) days from receipt of the resolution/decision from the Tribunal disposing of the case or resolution denying the motion for reconsideration. The date when the judgment becomes final and executory shall be deemed as the date of its entry although the physical act of entering or recording the judgment may be done at a later date. The record shall contain the dispositive part of the judgment and shall be signed by the Secretary of the Tribunal, with a certification that such judgment has become final and executory.

RULE 74. Procedure after Finality of Decision; Execution of Decision; Publication of Decisions. – As soon as a decision becomes final and executory, notice thereof shall be sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Philippines and the Chairperson of the Commission on Audit.

The original copies of the decisions of the Tribunal shall be kept in bound form in the archives of the Tribunal. Decisions shall be published in the Official Gazette or in the reports officially authorized by the Tribunal in the language in which they have been originally written together with the syllabi therefor.

COSTS AND DAMAGES

RULE 75. When Allowed. – Costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party as a matter of course, but the Tribunal may, if equitable and for special reasons, apportion the costs.

RULE 76. Costs and Damages; When Action Dismissed. – If a protest, counter-protest or a petition for quo warranto is dismissed, the Tribunal may still rule on the claim for costs and damages.

RULE 77. Costs When Action Frivolous. – When a protest, counter-protest or a petition for quo warranto is found to be frivolous, double or treble costs may be imposed by the Tribunal on the protestant, counter-protestant or petitioner, as the case may be.

REVISION/AMENDMENT

RULE 78. Revision or Amendment. – The Tribunal may, at anytime, revise these Rules or amend any of its provisions. Any revision or amendment adopted shall be effective fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

EFFECTIVITY

RULE 79. Effectivity. – These Rules shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. Upon taking effect, any and all Rules of the Tribunal previously adopted or promulgated are superseded and repealed.

TRANSITORY PROVISION

RULE 80. Application to Pending Cases. – These Rules shall apply to all pending actions except when substantive rights are affected as may be determined by the Tribunal.

APPROVED, September 7, 2015.

 
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