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Brillantes vs. Concepcion, GR 163193, June 15, 2004

FACTS: Congress enacted RA 8436 authorizing COMELEC to use an automated election system for the process of voting, counting of votes and canvassing/consolidation the results of national and local elections. COMELEC subsequently approved Resolution 6712 adopting the policy that the precinct election results of each city and municipality shall be immediately transmitted electronically in advance to the COMELEC in Manila.
Petitioners in this case questioned, among others, the Constitutionality of the quickcount as being pre-emptive of the authority vested in Congress to canvass the votes for the President and Vice-President under Article VII, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution.
ISSUE: Can the COMELEC conduct “unofficial” tabulation of presidential election results based on a copy of the election returns?
RULING: No. The assailed resolution usurps, under the guise of an “unofficial” tabulation of election results based on a copy of the election returns, the sole and exclusive authority of Congress to canvass the votes for the election of President and Vice-President.
The contention of the COMELEC that its tabulation of votes is not prohibited by the Constitution and Rep. Act No. 8436 as such tabulation is “unofficial,” is puerile and totally unacceptable. If the COMELEC is proscribed from conducting an official canvass of the votes cast for the President and Vice-President, the COMELEC is, with more reason, prohibited from making an “unofficial” canvass of said votes

by: Karissa Tolentino

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