Beng on Jalosjos disqualification case: ‘Facts speak for themselves’ PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 14:00

House Deputy Speaker and District 1 Congresswoman Beng Climaco said the Liberal Party will always remain vigilant in the enforcement of laws “to ensure that no person, regardless of his wealth and influence, gain any undue advantage at the expense of ordinary citizens”.

The lady solon, who heads the Liberal Party in Zamboanga stressed this, as she led Friday the filing of opposition to the application for voter’s registration of former Zamboanga del Norte congressman Romeo Jalosjos Jr. on account of the latter’s conviction of two counts of two (2) counts of Statutory Rape and six (6) counts of Acts of Lasciviousness in 2001.

“The facts speak for themselves”, Cong. Climaco said. “Contrary to purported beliefs and widespread misinformation campaign, Mr. Jalosjos not only does he not possess all the qualifications, he has also one of the disqualifications prescribed by law having been sentenced for two (2) counts of Statutory Rape and six (6) counts of Acts of Lasciviousness, sentencing him to Reclusion Perpetua and Reclusion Temporal, respectively for each count and suffers from the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification. He is not qualified to register as a voter and to vote; he is disqualified to register and to vote in any elections.”

Records from the Commission on Elections-City Office show that Jalosjos filed an Application for Voter’s Registration in Precinct No. 1465-A, Barangay Tetuan, District II of Zamboanga City last April 26, 2012, “despite knowing fully well that he is disqualified from registering as a voter”, she said.

She said it is now incumbent upon electoral officials to apply the law as it is worded and as intended by the legislature. “Mr. Jalosjos cannot circumvent our laws by mere subterfuge. He needs to own up to his past actions and suffer the consequences of his crimes.”

She emphasized that the expressed powers of the State enshrined in the Philippine Constitution, the very constitution that she strongly sworn to protect and defend, all existing laws and related Supreme Court decisions held that “the right of the State to deprive persons of their right of suffrage manifest purpose of such restrictions upon this right is to preserve the PURITY OF ELECTIONS.”

“I will not stand idly by while certain personalities make a mockery of our laws”, she declared, as she assured that the Liberal party will always remain vigilant in the enforcement of 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”.

As chairperson of LP’s Zamboanga City Chapter and as a lawmaker, she asserted, “it is incumbent upon me to ensure that all rights are protected, that our electoral process is respected and that our laws, in both letter and intent, be followed.”

Climaco said Jalosjos’ disqualification stems from his conviction of the crimes of Statutory Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness, which 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 Supreme Court upheld the Regional Trial Court’s decision finding Mr. Jalosjos guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts
of Statutory Rape and six (6) counts of Acts of Lasciviousness, sentencing him to Reclusion Perpetua and Reclusion Temporal, respectively for each count.

She said, having been convicted by final judgment, 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.

Climaco underscored that the Supreme Court, in the case of People vs. Corral, explicitly expressed in its decision that “the deprivation of suffrage does not lapse at the expiration of the sentence of the convict.” It affirmed further that “the RIGHT of the STATE to deprive persons of their right of suffrage by reason of the presumption is that one rendered infamous by conviction of felony, or other base offenses indicative of moral turpitude, is unfit to exercise the privilege of suffrage or to hold office.”

“Even if Mr. Jalosjos was granted a commutation of sentence by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo”, she said, “the commutation merely reduced his original sentence from an imprisonment of forty (40) years to sixteen (16) years, three (3) months and three (3) 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”, she continued.

It is also unequivocally clear under Section 11 of the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996 and Section 6 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9149 of 2011 that any
person who has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment of not less than one (1) year shall not reacquire the right to vote until the expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence, Cong. Climaco revealed.

She said official records with the Bureau of Corrections will readily show that Mr. Jalosjos was discharged from the National Bilibid Prison on March 18, 2009 after serving his reduced prison sentence.

“In other words, even assuming for the sake of argument that Mr. Jalosjos may reacquire the right to vote despite his criminal convictions, he will not reacquire such right until March 17, 2014”, she affirmed. — Marvin Segura