Beng delighted by ERB verdict on Jalosjos case PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:36

House Deputy Speaker and District I Representative Beng Climaco has expressed delight and commended the Comelec’s Election Registration Board (ERB) for “upholding the rule of law and for resolving our opposition in a prompt and judicious manner” in denying the application for voter’s registration of former Zamboanga del Norte congressman Romeo Jalosjos Jr.

Climaco came out with a statement on the ERB’s decision yesterday, September 4, after her office officially received a copy of the ruling issued last August 31.

“We at the Liberal Party are delighted by this development and we commend the ERB for upholding the rule of law and for resolving our Opposition in a prompt and judicious manner. We also laud the Members of the Board for displaying impartiality, fairness and righteousness for the duration of the proceedings,” Climaco who filed the opposition said.

Despite frantic efforts to confuse and muddle issues before them, Climaco said it is clear that the “Board has a clear appreciation of the underlying question that needed to be answered – whether or not Mr. Jalosjos is disqualified to register as a voter by virtue of his conviction of the crimes of Statutory Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness.”

She stressed that vain attempts to characterize her opposition “as an attack on Mr. Jalosjos’ qualification to run for public office is erroneous, misplaced and premature.”

She said the ERB clearly recognized that the opposition was anchored on solid ground and that denying Jalosjos’ application manifests that the board demonstrated a keen appreciation of the factual and legal bases of the issue before them, and acted in accordance with the law.

However, while she is extremely pleased with this development, Climaco said the ERB resolution is merely the first step in her crusade to uphold the rule of law and ensure that it applies equally to everyone.

“We foresee further battles ahead. Thus, I implore our people to maintain consciousness and vigilance in the coming days in order to ensure that our initial gains will be protected, that the rule of law will be upheld, and that no man, regardless of his wealth, influence or social stature, will be allowed to circumvent our laws and gain undue advantage at the expense of our people”, she declared.

Climaco, it is recalled formally opposed last July, Jalosjos’ application as a registered voter in Zamboanga City based on the latter’s conviction for two counts of statutory rape and 6 counts of acts of lasciviousness.

“At the onset we have questioned only the eligibility of Mr. Jalosjos to register as a voter. When a person files an application to register as a voter, he affirms that he possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications of a voter. In the case of Mr. Jalosjos, he is manifestly disqualified; hence, our Opposition,” she said.

“Under Section 18 of the Voter’s Registration Act, any voter, candidate or representative of a registered political party may challenge in writing any application for registration. Thus, we were within our rights to oppose his application,” she pointed out.

She emphasized that the facts are well-established and undisputed. Mr. Jalosjos was found 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. The said conviction was upheld by no less than the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

“In 2007, Mr. Jalosjos was granted a mere commutation of sentence by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo which resulted in the reduction of his original sentence. In other words, Mr. Jalosjos was NOT granted an absolute pardon”, she said, stressing “official records with the Bureau of Corrections also show that Mr. Jalosjos was discharged from the National Bilibid Prison only on March 18, 2009, less than the five-year period prescribed under the Voter’s Registration Act.”

Article 41 in relation to Article 30 of the Revised Penal Code imposes an accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification, including being deprived of the right to vote in any election for any popular elective office, on any person convicted by final judgment of a crime punishable by Reclusion Perpetua.

Furthermore, Section 11 of the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996 and Section 6 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9149 also provides 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, Climaco continued.

“Based on the foregoing, it is clear that the disqualification of Mr. Jalosjos was a direct consequence of his past crimes and in accordance with our statutes. No amount of legal maneuvering and machinations will alter what is expressly stated in our laws – that Mr. Jalosjos is disqualified to register as a voter and that he is deprived of his right to vote as a consequence of the crimes he was convicted for,” Climaco added. — Marvin Segura