FACTS: Petitioners questioned the jurisdiction of the COMELEC in taking cognizance of and deciding the citizenship issue affecting Fernando Poe Jr. They asserted that under Section 4(7) , Article VII of the 1987 Constituition, only the Supreme Court had original and exclusive jurisdiction to resolve the basic issue of the case.
ISSUE: As the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) , does the Supreme Court have jurisdiction over the qualifications of presidential candidates?
RULING: No. An examination of the phraseology in Rule 12, 13, and Rule 14 of the "Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal," promulgated by the Supreme Court on April 1992 categorically speak of the jurisdiction of the tribunal over contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the "President" or "Vice-President", of the Philippines, and not of "candidates" for President or Vice-President. A quo warranto proceeding is generally defined as being an action against a person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises a public office. In such context, the election contest can only contemplate a post-election scenario. In Rule 14, only a registered candidate who would have received either the second or third highest number of votes could file an election protest. This rule again presupposes a post-election scenario.
It is fair to conclude that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, defined by Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, would not include cases directly brought before it, questioning the qualifications of a candidate for the presidency or vice-presidency before the elections are held.
BY: KARISSA FAYE TOLENTINO