Beng, Jomar ask Comelec to bar Jalosjos PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 07 July 2012 13:58

District 1 Congresswoman and 2013 mayoralty aspirant Beng Climaco and Adelante Zamboanga chairman Jomar Lobregat yesterday filed separate petitions with the Commission on Elections seeking to disqualify the voter’s registration of former Zamboanga del Norte congressman Romeo Jalosjos y Garcia, who is also a mayoralty aspirant.

Climaco filed the petition in the morning while the younger brother of Mayor Celso Lobregat submitted his plea through his legal counsel Atty. Jose Maria Saavedra in the afternoon at Comelec District 2 main office’s Election Registration Board (ERB) at Enriquez Sports Complex.

Climaco’s petition is an “Opposition/Challenge” to the Application for Voter’s Registration of Jalosjos.

Climaco wants to disqualify Jalosjos  from registering as a voter for the conviction of his crime of statutory rape and acts of lasciviousness.

She stated in her petition that Jalosjos’ conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in its decision in the case of People of the Philippines vs. Romeo G. Jalosjos, G.R. Nos. 132875-76, dated November 16, 2001.

In the said decision, the Court upheld the Regional Trial Court’s decision finding Jalosjos guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of statutory rape and 6 counts of acts of lasciviousness, sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal, respectively for each count.

Having been convicted by the final judgement, Salazar says that Mr. Jalosjos suffers from the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification under Article 30 of the Revised Penal Code, including being deprived of the right to vote in any election for any popular elective office or to be elected to such office.

Jalosjos, in response, said the filing was already expected from his political detractors just for him to stop from running in the May 2013 elections.

“Ya prepara ya kita conese...cuestion lang de mio, porque man ansina? Manda maga hente escuhi (I’m prepared for that..my only question, why is it like that? Let the people choose),” he said in chavacano in an interview aired over Radio Mindanao Network (RMN).

Citing the technicality of law which takes precedence over it, he said there is a ‘’later provision” in the Local Government Code that an ex-convict can be a voter and can be voted after two years lapsed from the time of his release serving sentence.

Jalosjos had earlier said that for any convicted felon who served his sentence fully, he is qualified to run for any office on the local level three years after the completion of his sentence.

Rep. Climaco said that even if Jalosjos was granted a commutation sentence by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the commutation merely reduced his original sentence from an imprisonment of 40 years to 16 years, three months and three days and has not reinstate his privilege to register as voter, to vote and be voted unless these are expressly remitted and restored by pardon.

“Since Mr. Jalosjos was not granted an absolute pardon but a mere commutation of sentence, his perpetual absolute disqualification remains. The commutation of sentence is not the same nor equal to a summary pardon,” said Climaco in the petition.

She assured that they at Liberal Party will always remain vigilant in the enforcement of the laws to ensure that no person, regardless of his wealth and influence, gain any undue advantage at the expense of ordinary citizens, consistent with the “No Wang Wang” policy of the President and in pursuit of his “Matuwid na Daan.”

On the other hand, Jomar Lobregat said he wants to protect Zamboanga City in seeking to disqualify Jalosjos.

Jomar, who is also a congressional aspirant of District 2 said that in 1997, Jalosjos had been sentenced by the court on two counts of statutory rape and six counts of acts of lasciviousness with the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and Reclusion Temporal respectively or life imprisonment thus, lost his rights to vote or be voted upon.

“So it is very clear that he is perpetually disqualified from voting or run in the coming elections and be voted upon because under the Omnibus Election Code any person who has been sentenced by final judgement to suffer imprisonment for not less than one year loses that right,” Lobregat said.
He reasoned out the filing of the petition was only done now because the Comelec was busy attending other election matters and has scheduled the filing of any petition between July 3 to 9.

“This is the reason why we filed the petition only now because this is the right time to file and we are doing it to protect the city from convicts,” Lobregat stressed.

The hearing has been calendared on August 20 at the Comelec office located at the Joaquin Memorial Sports Complex, according to the Adelante de Zamboanga chair.

In earlier interviews, Jalosjos emphasized that at the time he was released from prison to present it is already more than five years so he has acquired back his right of suffrage based on the Omnibus Election Code.

“Even if that is true that he can reacquire his rights to vote after five years, but he was released from detention in the year 2009 and that means in the 2013 elections he is still short by one year because his five-year period in acquiring back his right to vote will be in 2014 yet,” Lobregat countered.

In the morning, District 2 Congresswoman Isabelle Climaco also filed a petition calling Comelec not to allow the registration of Jalosjos under District 2 because of similar complaint.

Asked why they filed the petition separately, Lobregat said if there will be technicalities on either of the petition the other will serve as back up.
He also called on other politicians or other individuals who want to protect Zamboanga  to join them in their fight.

Earlier, Jalosjos who was informed of the twin petitions said it is a desperate move adding he is ready to face and fight any move to disqualify him all the way to the Supreme Court. — With report from Rey Carbonel