Disqualified: SC junks Jalosjos appeal

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) dismissed on Tuesday, June 18, the petition of former Zamboanga del Norte Rep and convicted rapist Romeo Jalosjos to reverse a resolution of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) that disqualified him from running for mayor last May.

In a 15-0 vote, SC found Jalosjos’ appeal “untenable” when he cited Article 30 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) as “partially amended” by Section 40 (a) of the Local Government Code (LGC).

In its decision, the High Court explained that Article 30 of the Code provides “that the penalties of perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification carries with it the deprivation of the right to vote in any election for any popular office or to be elected to such office.”

“This is based on the presumption that one who is rendered infamous by conviction of a felony or other base offense indicative of moral turpitude, is unfit to hold public office, as the same partakes of the nature of a privilege which the State grants only to such classes of persons which are most likely to exercise it for the common good,” the Court explained.

The Court added that Section 40 of the LGC, applicable to local elective candidates, provides that “those sentenced to final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one or more of imprisonment within two years after serving sentence are disqualified.”

The High Court further cited Article 41 of the RPC, which states that “the accessory penalty of disqualification remains even though one is pardoned as to the principal penalty unless the accessory penalty shall have been so expressly remitted in the pardon.”

In Jalosjos’ case, the SC decided that the “accessory penalty had not been expressly remitted in the Order of Commutation or by any subsequent pardon and, as such, petitioner’s disqualification to run for elective office is deemed to subsist.”

Jalosjos was convicted in 1997 for raping an 11-year-old girl. In 2002, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction with finality.

The Comelec also ruled in September 2012 that Jalosjos couldn’t register as a new voter because he's a convict. 

In the May elections, the ruling Liberal Party’s bet, Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar won as mayor of Zamboanga City. – Rappler.com