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Fortuno vs. Palma Case Digest

Facts: Fortuno and Abante were candidates for the position of director of Camarines Sur II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CASURECO II). Alleging that Fortuno failed to comply with the residence requirement, Abante filed a petition to disqualify him before the National Electrification Administration (NEA). The petition was later endorsed to the District Election Committee (DEC) which found that Fortuno was qualified. DEC then proclaimed Fortuno as director after the election. Thus, Abante filed a quo warranto petition before the RTC. The RTC granted the petition and enjoined Fortuno from continuing as director. Fortuno now questions the jurisdiction of the RTC.

Fortuno argues that the power to determine and decide the residence qualification is vested in, and falls within the peculiar function and competence of the NEA, acting through its duly created District Election Committee and that since the decision rendered by the latter had already become final, said resolution may no longer be questioned elsewhere. 

Issue: Does the RTC have jurisdiction over quo warranto proceedings involving the qualification for membership of the Board of Directors of an electric cooperative.

Held:  A quo warranto proceeding maybe instituted to determine the right to the use or exercise of a franchise or office and to oust the holder from its enjoyment, if his claim is not well- founded, or if he has forfeited his right to enjoy the privilege. Where the dispute is on the eligibility to perform the duties by the person sought to be ousted or disqualified a quo warranto is the proper action.

The Supreme Court has concurrent jurisdiction over quo warranto proceedings with the Regional Trial Court in the province in which the defendant or one of the defendants reside, or when defendant is a corporation, in the province in which it is domiciled or has a place of business; but when the Solicitor General of the Philippines commences the action, it may be brought in a Court of First Instance in the City of Manila or the Supreme Court.

From the foregoing provision of the rules and rulings of this Court, the conclusion is inescapable that the quo warranto proceeding filed in the RTC of Naga City questioning the qualification of petitioner Fortuno is within the jurisdiction of said Court. Nowhere in the law can We find any provision that excepts the electric cooperatives from its coverage. (Fortuno vs. Palma, G.R. No. 70203, December 18, 1987)

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