Legally Yours,  Political Law

Guevara v. COMELEC

Guevara v. COMELEC

G.R. No. L-12596 | July 31, 1958

FACTS:

Guevara was ordered by the COMELEC to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt for having published in the newspaper an article which tended to interfere with and influence the COMELEC awarding the contracts for the manufacture and supply of ballot boxes; and which article likewise tended to degrade, bring into disrepute, and undermine the exclusive constitutional function of this Commission and its Chairman.

Petitioner, filed a motion to quash on the following ground that the Commission has no jurisdiction to punish as contempt the publication of the alleged contemptuous article, as neither in the Constitution nor in statutes is the Commission granted a power to so punish the same.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the COMELEC has the power and jurisdiction to conduct contempt proceedings against Guevara in connection with the publication of an article.

HELD:

Although the negotiation conducted by the Commission has resulted in controversy between several dealers that however merely refers to a ministerial duty, which the Commission has performed in its administrative capacity. It only discharged a ministerial duty; it did not exercise any judicial function. Such being the case, it could not exercise the power to punish for contempt as postulated in the law, for such power is inherently judicial in nature. As this Court has aptly said: “The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts; its existence is essential to the preservation of order in judicial proceedings, and to the enforcement of judgments, orders and mandates of courts, and, consequently, in the administration of justice”. We are therefore persuaded to conclude that the Commission on Elections has no power nor authority to submit petitioner to contempt proceedings if its purpose is to discipline him because of the publication of the article mentioned in the charge under consideration.

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