Jalosjos asks SC to resume candidacy for mayor-A A +A
Monday, January 21, 2013
MANILA -- Convicted rapist Romeo Jalosjos asked the Supreme Court on Monday to make him a candidate again for mayor of Zamboanga City as he accused the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of grave abuse of discretion when it issued a disqualification order last week.
The Comelec cancelled his certificate of candidacy on the ground of his previous conviction for the crime of rape, which allegedly includes "perpetual disqualification for holding public office."
However, Jalosjos said the order was issued without hearing his side, thus depriving him the right to due process.
If COCs of nuisance candidates cannot be cancelled or denied due course without giving the nuisance candidates the chance to be heard, there is no reason why the same due process or hearing cannot be accorded Jalosjos," his lawyer Romulo Macalintal said after asking for a temporary restraining order (TRO).
Macalintal cited the cases of several nuisance candidates whom the Comelec called for a hearing before their COCs were cancelled or denied due course.
One of them was a certain Daniel Magtira who filed his COC for senator last October and who claimed to be the husband of actress Kris Aquino.
Section 4, Rule 24 of the Comelec Rules provides for "an opportunity" to be heard before the COCs of these nuisance candidates are cancelled.
Macalintal said in the petition that the "motu propio" rule implemented by the Comelec "is not provided for in the Rules of the Comelec, which mandatorily requires hearing and notice before any resolution could be rendered."
This "motu propio" rule constitutes an amendment of the Comelec Rules which has to be published first before it could be implemented, he said.
"Furthermore, the questioned resolution of the Comelec en banc has preempted or prevented the Court of Appeals to decide an earlier appeal filed by Jalosjos regarding the clear and definite interpretation of the duration of the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office on the crime for which he was convicted," Macalintal added.
He said that the Comelec disregarded the provision of Section 40 of the Local Government Code, which provides that any person convicted with such accessory penalty is already qualified to run for a local elective position after two years from serving his sentence.
Jalosjos completed his sentence for raping an 11-year-old girl on December 16, 2007, thus over two years had already elapsed making him qualified to run for mayor, according to the veteran election lawyer.
"To penalize Jalosjos by depriving him of his constitutional right to vote beyond the period provided for in Section 40 of LGC would in effect be punishing him over the limit set by law. Furthermore, doubts in interpreting criminal laws are always resolved in favor of the accused," Macalintal said.
Jalosjos's application to register as a voter of Zamboanga City is still pending with the Court of Appeals, which has yet to resolve the issue of whether or not Section 40 of the LGC should be applied in his favor.
"Thus, by issuing the said resolution without any notice or hearing, the Comelec en banc has preempted the action of the Court of Appeals on the said case and depriving Jalosjos of his constitutional right to due process," said Macalintal.
Jalosjos's brother Dominador was also disqualified by the Comelec to run for governor of Zamboanga del Sur after the SC affirmed a decision of a local court convicting him of robbery. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)