2022 Philippine Elections

Congressman who nearly lost because of nuisance bet vows to plug poll loopholes

Gualberto Laput
Congressman who nearly lost because of nuisance bet vows to plug poll loopholes

LOOPHOLES. Zamboanga del Norte 1sy District Representative Romeo Jalosjos Jr. tells reporters in Dipolog City that he would work to plug loopholes in the electoral process after he nearly lost in the May elections because of a mysterious nuisance candidate.

Gualberto Laput/Rappler

Zamboanga del Norte 1st District Representative Romeo Jalosjos Jr. gets proclaimed as the winner after the Commission on Elections en banc disqualified a nuisance candidate and ordered his votes credited to the reelectionist congressman

 DIPOLOG CITY, Philippines – A congressman who nearly lost a reelection because of a nuisance candidate vowed on Friday, June 24, to work to plug loopholes in the country’s electoral processes.

A day earlier, Zamboanga del Norte 1st District Representative Romeo Jalosjos Jr. was proclaimed as the winning candidate in the May elections by the provincial board of canvassers after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc disqualified Federico Jalosjos as a nuisance candidate and ordered that his votes be credited to the reelectionist congressman.

Romeo Jr. uses the nickname Kuya Jon while Federico registered Kuya Jan with the Comelec when he filed his certificate of candidacy.

Initially, the congressman garnered 69,107 votes, trailing his closest rival Roberto Uy Jr. who got 69,591. Federico won 5,424 votes.

But with the June 7 Comelec en banc resolution against Federico, Romeo Jr.’s votes increased to 74,531.

Representative Jalosjos said it was a close call, and the nuisance candidate held the decision “hostage” for more than a month.

“If you have this kind of problem, you can talk with God every day,” the congressman told a press conference after arriving in Dipolog City on June 24. “Somehow, I realized that, perhaps, I’m still wanted to correct something with our election laws because I’m a victim of some loopholes in our electoral process.”

He said he would work for the criminalization of acts that make a mockery of the country’s election laws.

In the case of Federico, he said, the candidacy was meant to confuse voters.

Until now, Federico has yet to show his face to the public, Jalosjos noted.

“I will also work for the faster process of elections,” said the congressman, adding that the disqualification of nuisance candidates must come before printing the ballots.

He pointed out that Federico was initially declared a nuisance candidate by the Comelec’s 2nd Division before the elections, but the Commission’s en banc ruled on it after the elections.

“If we cannot correct the loopholes in our election laws, there will always be the fear that our voters will be disenfranchised. Elections are for the voters, and not for the candidates. This should never happen again anywhere in the country,” Jalosjos said. – Rappler.com