JALOSJOS DISQUALIFICATION CASE : Grandstand a sea of colors — red, green, yellow; decision deferred PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 August 2012 15:01

The Enriquez Sports Complex in Baliwasan turned into a sea of colors — red, green and yellow — when the Election Registration Board (ERB) yesterday morning heard but did render any decision yet on the twin petitions filed by House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Congresswoman Isabelle Climaco Salazar and Jomar Lobregat asking the Commission on Elections to disallow the voter’s registration of former Zamboanga del Norte congressman and ZTZ founder Romeo Jalosjos in District 2 here in Zamboanga City.

Supporters of Lobregat’s Adelante Zamboanga came in full force wearing red t-shirts, while Jalosjos’ ZTZ members displayed their green attire, and Rep. Climaco’s friends and followers appeared in yellow (Pnoy) get-up.

The “encounter” of the three groups however was peaceful and friendly.

Jalosjos lawyers led by Richard Rambuyong, co-counsels Giovanni Luistro, Carl Rubio and Chole Chiong filed two motions with the ERB 1 to expunge the opposition of the petitioners from the Comelec records for violation of certain rules in relation to Case no. 001 stating that Salazar and Lobregat’s lead counsel Jesus Carbon Jr. has not indicated his Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) in violations of R.A. 6713 and the Canon of Professional Ethics, and that in 2007, Carbon who was former judge of RTC Branch 16 has denied the petition for Habeas Corpus of Romeo Jalosjos which resulted in the official release of Jalosjos in 2009 instead of 2007.

The respondent’s lawyers also called on the ERB to expunge the opposition filed by Salazar and Lobregat calling the ERB not to allow the registration of Jalosjos because they were not furnished a copy on time. Luistro said the copy of the petitions were furnished to them July 13 which is already beyond the period to challenge and also the opposition contains defective verification such as valid proof of identity.

The ERB chaired by District 2 Election Officer Joseph Ian Tria, Civil Registrar Atty. Alexander Elias and Division of City School Superintendent Pedro Melchor Natividad instead rescheduled the hearing on August 31, 2012 quickly dismissing Jalosjos lawyers’ motion to expunge the petitions opposing the registration of their client as a voter in this city particularly in District 2.

Jalosjos had already declared that he is running for the mayoralty post in Zamboanga City against rivals Rep. Climaco and last termer District 2 Cong. Erbie A. Fabian.

Rambuyong questioned ERB’s quick ruling on their motions to expunge the opposition which he said, was done haphazardly and speaks of the board’s partiality or impartiality to their client because clearly there was no factual justification on the ruling.

Luistro asked the ERB to put their decision in writing so they can contest and file the necessary motion for reconsideration. He also questioned why there were no stenographers recording the proceedings.

Jomar Lobregat, younger brother of Mayor Celso Lobregat, is one of the petitioners asking the Comelec to disallow the registration as a voter of Jalosjos because of the rape case filed against him.

Lobregat said Jalosjos’ rights to vote has not been restored even after his release in prison because of the case of moral turpitude.

He said the lawyers of Jalosjos clearly tried to delay the hearing instead of arguing why their client should not be disqualified from registering as a voter in District 2.

As early as 8 a.m., followers from both camps lined up the streets as they entered the grandstand for the hearing. — NS