Beng: Only qualified, registered voter can run in 2013 elections PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 October 2012 14:15

House Deputy Speaker and District 1 Rep. Beng Climaco-Salazar, who has formally submitted her bid for mayor in the 2013 elections, has emphasized that one has to be qualified and a registered voter in order to be able to run for any position in the coming polls.

“So as a candidate for a particular position we have to uphold the rule of law and be law abiding”, the lady solon said in reaction to twits from an opposing camp whose candidate for mayor has been denied of application for voter’s registration by the COMELEC’s Election Regulation Board (ERB) recently. 

Climaco said she is seeking the mayoralty post in next year’s elections as a manifestation of her intention to serve the people of Zamboanga.

“As long as we’re qualified to run, then let the people judge us [come election day]”, the congresswoman snapped to queries regarding her opponent’s pronouncement that he is definitely running, as the COMELEC has receipted and accepted his certificate of candidacy October 5, the last day of filing of COCs.

Recall that the ERB in Zamboanga City last August 31 denied the application for voter’s registration of former Zamboanga del Norte congressman Romeo Jalosjos Jr. on the basis of his conviction of the crimes of Statutory Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness.

The opposition to Jalosjos’ application for registration was filed by Cong. Climaco and Joemar Lobregat, who has filed his COC for the District II congressional seat in next year’s polls.

Upon being informed of the ERB decision, 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

“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.

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.”

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.

“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 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.

Before the filing period started last month, the COMELEC has emphasized that all COCs submitted during the filing period will be accepted but COMELEC-Manila will have the final say on the matter pending study and review of the qualifications and background of the applicant-candidates. — Marvin Segura