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Amelito Mutuc vs. COMELEC
Mutuc was a candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention (1970). His candidacy was given due course by the COMELEC but he was prohibited from playing his campaign jingle on his mobile units because this is an apparent violation of COMELEC’s band “to purchase, produce, request or distribute sample ballots, or electoral propaganda gadgets such as pens, lighters, fans (of whatever nature), flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, cigarettes, and the like, whether of domestic or foreign origin.” It was COMELEC’s contention that the jingle proposed to be used by petitioner is the recorded or taped voice of a singer and therefore a tangible propaganda material (falling under and the like’s category), under the above COMELEC statute subject to confiscation.
HELD: 1. By virtue of Ejusdem Generis, general words following any enumeration must be of the same class as those specifically referred to. It did contend, however, that one of its provisions referred to above makes unlawful the distribution of electoral propaganda gadgets, mention being made of pens, lighters, fans, flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets, bandanas, shirts, hats, matches, and cigarettes, and concluding with the words “and the like.” For respondent Commission, the last three words sufficed to justify such an order. We view the matter differently. What was done cannot merit our approval under the well-known principle of ejusdem generis, the general words following any enumeration being applicable only to things of the same kind or class as those specifically referred to. It is quite apparent that what was contemplated in the Act was the distribution of gadgets of the kind referred to as a means of inducement to obtain a favorable vote for the candidate responsible for its distribution.
2. This is a curtailment of Freedom of Expression. The Constitution prohibits the abridgment of the freedom of speech.
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