Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CoCs must be sworn in accordance with law

Certificates of Candidacy are required to be sworn in accordance with existing laws.
A certificate of candidacy that is not sworn in accordance with law renders the candidate ineligible for election.

CoCs must be sworn, to be eligible as candidate

Section 1, of Comelec Resolution No. 8678 mandates that No person shall be elected President, Vice-President, Senators, Member of the House of Representatives, Provincial, City or Municipal officials unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy in the form prescribed by the Commission.
Sec. 73, of the Omnibus Election Code provides that “No person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy within the period fixed herein.”
By being “sworn” means the certificate of candidacy must be notarized in accordance the news rules on notarization.
Six years ago, the supreme court laid down the new rules on notarization of documents in Administrative Matter No. 02-8-13-SC dated July 6, 2004.
(This is not exactly "new" because it is a six-year old rule.)
Certificates of candidacy must be sworn or duly notarized to transform it into a public document.
A candidate is required to swear and subscribe to the truth of the contents of his certificate of candidacy before a notary public.
This is what the Comelec rules and omnibus election code require.

Competent Evidence of Identity

Under the new notary rules, a candidate must present what is called “competent evidence of identity”.
Competent evidences of identity are those identification cards of a person swearing before a notary public.
Under the new rules on notarization, a competent evidence identity must be a government-issued card, bearing a photograph.
The supreme court has listed down these identification cards that are sufficient to become competent evidence of identity (with photograph) .
They are drivers licenses, passports, SSS cards, GSIS cards, Senior citizens cards, Tax identification cards, IBP, PRC cards, among others.
If ID’s are government-issued, and bear a photograph, it should be competent evidence of identity.

Cedula is not competent evidence of identity

A community tax certificate or a cedula was once commonly used as evidence of identity before a notary public.
But it no longer is---since 2004, the promulgation of the new supreme court notary rules.
The Supreme Court in cases has categorically ruled that community tax certificates are no longer competent evidence of identity because they are unreliable for purposes of identification.
In a case, the Supreme Court said: “As a matter of fact, recognizing the established unreliability of a community tax certificate in proving the identity of a person who wishes to have his document notarized, we did not include it in the list of competent evidence of identity that notaries public should use in ascertaining the identity of persons appearing before them to have their documents notarized”(Charles B. Baylon v. Jose A. Almo A.C. 6969 June 25, 2008)

Similarly, the Supreme Court imposed sanction against notarizing documents without using competent evidence of identity (Dolores L. Dela Cruz, et. al. v. Jose R. Dimaano, A.C. 7781 September 12, 2008).

Effect on certificates of candidacy

If certificates of candidacy executed by candidates for the coming May 2010 elections did not make use of competent evidence of identity, this would affect their eligibility for election in May.
A certificate of candidacy that did not make use of competent evidence of identity----example: using a cedula---is a document that is NOT SWORN in accordance with law.
Thus, such a defective certificate of candidacy renders the candidate ineligible for election in the May 2010 elections.
The Comelec rules and the omnibus election code require certificates of candidacy must be sworn in accordance with law.
If you would notice, the prescribed form for certificates of candidacy issued by the Comelec is already updated in accordance with the new notary rules.
Instead of using "CTC" for communicty tax certificate, the Comelec forms indicate "identification card" already.
This only means that the proper identification card, or competent evidence of identity must be presented, and not the "CTC" or community tax certificate or cedula.

Ground for disqualification

Candidates who filed defective certificates of candidacy, or those who filed CoCs which are not sworn in accordance with law, face disqualification because they are no longer eligible for election.
Candidates who filed defective CoCs have just acquired grounds for their disqualification under existing law, i.e. the omnibus election code and comelec rules.
So candidates, please review the certificates of candidacy you filed before the Comelec last November .
Did you use cedula when you swore before a notary public for your CoC?
If you did, you can be disqualified and rendered ineligible for election, for having filed a CoC that is NOT SWORN in accordance with law.


Anonymous said...

Please read again the 2004 Rules on Notarization. The so-called competent evidence of identity is not always required because when the candidate is personally known to the Notary Public, the same may be dispensed with.

As to presentation of the cedula (community tax certificate), please review the Local Government Code because it is required to be presented to the Notary Public in acknowledging a document.

Jay Dejaresco said...

@ Annonymous... You are right that there are instances where competent evidence of identity is not always required. But the notary public has to state this in the jurat. Placing a cedula in the jurat is a clear indication of the absence of personal affiliation or familiarity between the notary and the affiant. For why will the notary public indicate a cedula in the jurat if he personally knows the person swearing?
Also, you can review the "higher law" (higher than the local government code) i.e the Constitution [Article VIII Section 5 (5)], which empowers the Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning the practice of law. If you are a notary and you continue using merely a cedula as evidence of identity in defiance of Supreme Court instructions, there is a good chance you will be sanctioned by the Supreme Court.