Special Civil Actions Initiated by Petition: Review of COA and COMELEC Decisions (Rule 64)

Tomas Osmena vs. COA (GR 188818)

Rule 64 of the Rules of Court governs the procedure for the review of judgments and final orders or resolutions of the Commission on Elections and the COA. Section 3 of the same Rule provides for a 30-day period, counted from the notice of the judgment or final order or resolution sought to be reviewed, to file the petition for certiorari. The Rule further states that the filing of a motion for reconsideration of the said judgment or final order or resolution interrupts the 30-day period.

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Osmea cites the mandatory medical check-ups he had to undergo in Houston, Texas after his cancer surgery in April 2009 as reason for the delay in filing his petition for certiorari. Due to his weakened state of health, he claims that he could not very well be expected to be bothered by the affairs of his office and had to focus only on his medical treatment. He could not require his office to attend to the case as he was being charged in his personal capacity.

We find Osmeas reasons sufficient to justify a relaxation of the Rules. Although the service of the June 8, 2009 Resolution of the COA was validly made on June 29, 2009 through the notice sent to the Office of the Mayor of Cebu City, we consider July 15, 2009 the date he reported back to office as the effective date when he was actually notified of the resolution, and the reckoning date of the period to appeal. If we were to rule otherwise, we would be denying Osmea of his right to appeal the Decision of the COA, despite the merits of his case.

Lokin vs. Comelec (GR 179431-32)

Lokin has correctly brought this special civil action for certiorari against the COMELEC to seek the review of the September 14, 2007 resolution of the COMELEC in accordance with Section 7 of Article IX-A of the 1987 Constitution, notwithstanding the oath and assumption of office by Cruz-Gonzales. The constitutional mandate is now implemented by Rule 64 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides for the review of the judgments, final orders or resolutions of the COMELEC and the Commission on Audit. As Rule 64 states, the mode of review is by a petition for certiorari in accordance with Rule 65 to be filed in the Supreme Court within a limited period of 30 days. Undoubtedly, the Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over Lokins petitions for certiorari and for mandamus against the COMELEC.

Reyna vs. COA (GR 167219)

In the absence of grave abuse of discretion, questions of fact cannot be raised in a petition for certiorari, under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court. The office of the petition for certiorari is not to correct simple errors of judgment; any resort to the said petition under Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is limited to the resolution of jurisdictional issues. Accordingly, since the validity of the prepayment scheme is inherently a question of fact, the same should no longer be looked into by this Court.

Reyes vs. COA (GR 125129)

To begin with, Article IX-A, Section 7 of the Constitution provides that decision, orders of rulings of the Commission on Audit may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party. Under Rule 64, Section 2, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, judgment or final order of the Commission on Audit may be brought by an aggrieved party to this Court on certiorari under Rule 65.

However, the petition in this case was filed on June 17, 1996, prior to the effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Nevertheless, the mode of elevating cases decided by the Commission on Audit to this Court was only by petition for certiorari under Rule 65, as provided by the 1987 Constitution. The judgments and final orders of the Commission on Audit are not reviewable by ordinary writ of error or appeal via certiorari to this Court. Only when the Commission on Audit acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, may this Court entertain a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. Hence, a petition for review on certiorari or appeal by certiorari to the Supreme Court under Rule 44 or 45 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court is not allowed from any order, ruling or decision of the Commission on Audit.

 

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