On July 12, 2010, petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion to: (1) Restore Protestee’s Standing in Court; (2) Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dated June 24, 2010; and (3) Suspend Proceedings Pending Resolution of Falsification Case Before the Law Department of the COMELEC. However, on July 22, 2010, the trial court issued the second assailed Order denying petitioner’s Omnibus Motion.
Hence, the present petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65, alleging that respondent judge acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in considering as valid, the Sheriff’s Service of Summons on May 28, 2010 on a person not residing in petitioner’s residence.
On the other hand, respondents pointed out that the petition for certiorari should not be filed with this Court but with the COMELEC.
The petition must fail.
Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC, which provides when and where a petition for certiorari should be filed, states thus:
SEC. 4. When and where to file petition. – The petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days counted from the notice of the denial of the motion.
If the petition relates to an act or an omission of a municipal trial court or of a corporation, a board, an officer or a person, it shall be filed with the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. It may also be filed in the Court of Appeals or with the Sandiganbayan, whether or not the same is in aid of the court’s appellate jurisdiction. If the petition involves an act or an omission of a quasi-judicial agency, unless otherwise provided by law or these rules, the petition shall be filed with and be cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.
In election cases involving an act or an omission of a municipal or a regional trial court, the petition shall be filed exclusively with the Commission on Elections, in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.
The question then is, would taking cognizance of a petition for certiorari questioning an interlocutory order of the regional trial court in an electoral protest case be considered in aid of the appellate jurisdiction of the COMELEC? The Court finds in the affirmative.
Interpreting the phrase “in aid of its appellate jurisdiction,” the Court held in J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Jaramillo, et al. that if a case may be appealed to a particular court or judicial tribunal or body, then said court or judicial tribunal or body has jurisdiction to issue the extraordinary writ of certiorari, in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. This was reiterated in De Jesus v. Court of Appeals, where the Court stated that a court may issue a writ of certiorari in aid of its appellate jurisdiction if said court has jurisdiction to review, by appeal or writ of error, the final orders or decisions of the lower court.
Note that Section 8, Rule 14 of the 2010 Rules of Procedure in Election Contests Before the Courts Involving Elective Municipal Officials states that:
Sec. 8. Appeal. – An aggrieved party may appeal the decision to the COMELEC within five (5) days after promulgation, by filing a notice of appeal with the court that rendered the decision, with copy served on the adverse counsel or on the adverse party who is not represented by counsel.
Since it is the COMELEC which has jurisdiction to take cognizance of an appeal from the decision of the regional trial court in election contests involving elective municipal officials, then it is also the COMELEC which has jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. Clearly, petitioner erred in invoking this Court’s power to issue said extraordinary writ.