SC unseats Dapitan mayor-A A +A
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
MANILA -- The ghosts of his notorious past have come back to haunt Dapitan City Mayor Dominador Jalosjos after the Supreme Court unseated him, ruling that he is not qualified to run for any public office owing to his conviction in a robbery case 53 years ago.
Jalosjos is the younger brother of former Zamboanga del Norte representative Romeo Jalosjos who himself was convicted to suffer reclusion perpetua for statutory rape.
The younger Jalosjos was found guilty by the Cebu City Circuit Criminal Court on April 30, 1970 for the January 22, 1969 robbery case slapped against him, along with three others, and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of prision mayor, or four to six years.
In a resolution penned by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the High court installed Jalosjos' political rival, Agapito Cardino, as the rightful occupant to the post, having been the only qualified candidate who obtained the highest number of votes in the last May 2010 elections next to Jalosjos, with just six months left in office.
The SC affirmed the Commission on Elections ruling, which cancelled Jalosjos's certificate of candidacy since he was not eligible to run for any public office. Worse, he has not yet served his sentence up to present and he merely submitted a falsified certification on December 19, 2003 from the former administrator of the Parole and Probation Administration that he had fully complied with the terms and conditions of his probation.
"The perpetual special disqualification against Jalosjos arising from his criminal conviction by final judgment is a material fact involving eligibility which is a proper ground for a petition under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. Jalosjos' certificate of candidacy was void from the start since he was not eligible to run for any public office at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy. Jalosjos was never a candidate at any time, and all votes for Jalosjos were stray votes," the Court said.
The SC held that Comelec is under a legal duty to cancel the certificate of candidacy of anyone suffering from the accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification to run for public office by virtue of a final judgment.
"Thus, the poll body was directed to constitute a Special City Board of Canvassers to proclaim Cardino as the duly elected Mayor of Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte," the SC further ruled.
According to the SC, Jalosjos' conviction by final judgment disqualified him to be a candidate, explaining that "the penalty of prision mayor automatically carries with it, by operation of law, the accessory penalties of temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification."
"Both temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification constitute ineligibilities to hold elective public office. Perpetual special disqualification means that 'the offender shall not be permitted to hold any office during the period of his disqualification,' which is perpetually," the SC said.
Carpio further explained that a sentence of prision mayor by final judgment is a ground for disqualification under Section 40 of the Local Government Code and under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Concurring with Carpio are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama, Jr., Jose Portugal Perez, Jose Catral-Mendoza and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.
Dissenters are Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Bienvenido Reyes, and Arturo Brion. Reyes and Brion who wrote separate dissenting opinions.
Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Diosdado Peralta took no part in the voting due to prior participation in a related case. (JCV/Sunnex)