Aug 062013
Convicted rapist and former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos can no longer run for any public office.

This was after the Supreme Court, sitting en banc, on Tuesday denied his motion for reconsideration seeking to reverse the court’s earlier ruling barring him from running for mayor in last May’s elections.

The court said Jalosjos failed to present in his motion new arguments that would warrant the reversal of the SC’s decision.

The denial of Jalosjos’ motion rendered the SC ruling final.

“The Supreme Court denied with finality the motion for reconsideration of its June 18, 2013 decision filed by counsel for petitioner and prohibited the filing of further pleadings or motions,” the SC Public Information Office said.

“Entry of judgement shall be made in due course,” it added.

In June, the high court junked Jalosjos’ petition, stressing that his “perpetual absolute disqualification” remains even if he had been pardoned.

Jalosjos was convicted of two counts of statutory rape and six counts of acts of lasciviousness on November 16, 2001. He was sentenced to an “accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification.”

On April 30, 2007, Jalosjos’ sentence was commuted by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to 16 years, three months and three days. He walked out of prison in March 2009.

He separately applied to become a registered voter in Zamboanga City and a candidate in the mayoral race in the city. Both requests were denied by the Municipal Trial Court in Cities and the Commission on Elections, citing his perpetual absolute disqualification as reason.

This prompted Jalosjos to elevate the matter to the high court.

In his petition, Jalosjos said that his “perpetual absolute disqualification” provided under Article 30 of the Revised Penal Code had already been removed by an amendment by the Local Government Code, particularly Section 40(a).

Article 30 of the RPC provides that “penalties of perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification deprives a person of the right to vote in any election for any popular office or to be elected in office.”

Meanwhile, Section 40(a) of the LGC provides that “those sentenced to final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) or more imprisonment within two (2) years after serving sentence” are disqualified.

In its ruling, the SC explained that the RPC must prevail over the LGC.

“Section 40(a) of the LGC should be considered a law of general application and therefor must yield to the more definitive RPC provisions in line with the principle that general legislation must give way to special legislation on the same subject,” the high court said.

The court said that while Section 40(a) of the LGC allows a former convict to run for elective post, “this should not be deemed to cover cases wherein the law imposes a penalty, either as principal or accessory, which has the effect of disqualifying the convict to run for elective office.”

The SC said that even if Jalosjos had been pardoned, his accessory penalty of disqualification remains, and that it would only be removed if it had been expressly “remitted” in the pardon. Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News

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