Jalosjos seeks pardon on rape case

MANILA (Updated) -- Convicted child rapist Romeo Jalosjos is seeking absolute pardon so he can run again in the next elections.

Jalosjos, who was released on commuted sentence, is asking President Rodrigo Duterte to grant him absolute pardon from his statutory rape conviction that prevented him from returning to politics.

Jalosjos is one of the 36 convicts seeking for executive clemency from the Duterte, according to a public notice issued by the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) executive director Reynaldo Bayang on Thursday.

"Any interested party may send his/her written objections/comments/information relevant to the cases of above-named prisoners to the undersigned not later than 30 days from date of publication," the notice read.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed that the BPP has included the name of Jalosjos seeking absolute pardon from Duterte.

"But it is really up to the President to grant it," he said in a statement, citing that under the Constitution, the President is authorized to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons.

In 1996, a Makati court found Jalosjos guilty for raping an 11-year-old girl. In 2002, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction with finality.

Ten years later, Jalosjos was released from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) after then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo commuted his sentence.

In 2013, the former Zamboanga Del Norte congressman returned to politics but his candidacy for Zamboanga City mayor was nullified. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) cited his conviction for statutory rape and his penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

The SC upheld the Comelec decision on June 18, 2013.

The SC said that the "accessory penalty had not been expressly remitted in the Order of Commutation or by any subsequent pardon and, as such, petitioner's disqualification to run for elective office is deemed to subsist."

If Duterte would grant Jalosjos absolute pardon, all his rights, including right to run for election, are restored. (With SDR/SunStar Philippines)
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