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G.R. No. 153945

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EN BANC
G.R. No. 153945

February 4, 2003

REYNATO BAYTAN, REYNALDO BAYTAN and ADRIAN BAYTAN, petitioners,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
Challenged in this petition for certiorari1 with prayer for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction is the
Resolution dated June 3, 20022 of the Commission on Elections ("COMELEC" for brevity) en banc in E.O. Case No.
97-503. In its assailed Resolution, the COMELEC en banc denied the motion to reconsider Minute Resolution No.
00-2281 dated November 9, 20003 ordering the Law Department to file criminal cases for "double registration"
against petitioners Reynato Baytan, Reynaldo Baytan and Adrian Baytan ("petitioners" for brevity).
The Antecedents
On June 15, 1997, petitioners were on their way to register for the May 1998 elections when they met the newly
elected Barangay Captain, Roberto Ignacio ("Ignacio" for brevity), in Barangay 18, Zone II of Cavite City. Ignacio led
petitioners to register in Precinct No. 83-A of Barangay 18. Petitioners registered in this precinct as evidenced by
Voters Registration Records Nos. 41762473, 41762472 and 41762470.
When petitioners returned home, they wondered why the registrants in this precinct looked unfamiliar to them. This
prompted petitioners to return to the registration center to study the precinct map of Barangay 18. They then
realized that their residence is situated within the jurisdiction of Barangay 28. Thus, petitioners proceeded to
Precinct 129-A of Barangay 28 and registered anew on June 22, 1997 as evidenced by Voters Registration Records
Nos. 42662969, 42662968 and 42662917.
Subsequently, petitioners sent a letter dated August 21, 1997 to former COMELEC Assistant Executive Director
Jose Pio O. Joson and furnished a copy thereof to COMELEC Registrar Francisco Trias. In this letter, petitioners
requested for advice on how to cancel their previous registration. They also explained the reason and circumstances
of their second registration and expressed their intention to redress the error.
On September 16, 1997, the Election Officer of Cavite City forwarded copies of petitioners’ Voters Registration
Records to the Provincial Election Supervisor, Atty. Juanito V. Ravanzo ("Ravanzo" for brevity), for evaluation.
Ravanzo endorsed the matter to the Regional Director for prosecution. Eventually, the Law Department endorsed
the case to Ravanzo for resolution.
On January 10, 1998, Ravanzo recommended filing an information for double registration against petitioners. In an
en banc meeting held on November 09, 2000, the COMELEC in its Minute Resolution No. 00-2281 affirmed the
recommendation of Ravanzo. Petitioners moved for reconsideration. The COMELEC en banc denied the motion and
disposed as follows:

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