Republic of the Philippines

Supreme Court
Manila PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
 
SC PIO SU M M ARY Date of Sum m ary Reference N o. PIO-0022 18 June 2013

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Date

Ponente Separate Opinion/s Issue Relevant Statute or Case Sum m ary

ROM EO G. JALOSJOS v. TH E COM M ISSION ON ELECTION S, M ARIA ISABELLE G. CLIM ACOSALAZAR, ROEL B. N ATIVIDAD, ARTU RO N. ON RU BIA, AH M AD N ARZAD K. SAM PAN G, JOSE L. LOBREGAT, ADELAN TE ZAM BOAN GA PARTY AN D ELBERT C. ATILAN O; G.R. N o. 205033 June 18, 2013 Action Petition for Certiorari (Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65) DISMISSED Perlas-Bernabe, J.. Vote: 15-0 Brion, J. (Concurring) Sum m ary of Opinion Whether Petitioner Romeo Jalosjos is qualified to run as Mayor of Zamboanga City; • Revised Penal Code, Arts. 30, 41; • Local Government Code, sec. 40(a); On November 16, 2001, petitioner Jalosjos was convicted by final judgment of two (2) counts of statutory rape and six (6) counts of acts of lasciviousness in People of the Philippines v. Jalosjos in G.R. Nos. 132875-76. He was sentenced to suffer the principal penalties of reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal for each count, respectively, which carried the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification under Article 41 of the Revised Penal Code. On April 30, 2007, his sentence was commuted by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to 16 years, 3 months and 3 days. After serving the same, he was issued a Certificate of Discharge from Prison on March 18, 2009. On April 12, 2012, petitioner applied to register as a voter in Zamboanga City. Because of his previous conviction, his application was denied, prompting him to file a petition for inclusion in the permanent list of voters. Pending the resolution of his petition, he filed a CoC on October 5, 2012, seeking to run as Mayor of Zamboanga City in the May 13, 2013 elections. In his CoC, petitioner stated that he is a registered voter of Barangay

Tetuan, Zamboanga City. On October 18, 2012, the MTCC denied his Petition for Inclusion on account of his perpetual absolute disqualification which in effect deprived him of the right to vote in any election. Such denial was affirmed by the RTC of Zamboanga City, Branch 14 in its October 31, 2012 Order, which is final and executory under the Omnibus Election Code. Five (5) petitions were lodged before the COMELEC’s first and second divisions seeking the denial and/or cancellation of petitioner’s CoC due to his perpetual absolute disqualification as well as his failure to comply with the voter registration requirement. The COMELEC En Banc relied on the Court’s pronouncement in the consolidated cases of Dominador Jalosjos Jr. v. COMELEC and Agapito Cardino v. COMELEC and in its Resolution No. 9613 motu propio denied due course and/or cancelled petitioner’s CoC. Petitioner then filed this petition against COMELEC Resolution No. 9613. Petition is DISMISSED. Although the controversy has already been mooted by the exclusion of petitioner in the May 2013 elections, the Court, in view of the doctrinal value of the issues raised, takes this opportunity to elucidate on the same. On the question of petitioner’s right to run for elective office, he submits that Article 301 of the RPC was partially amended by the LGC, section 40(a)2 and thus his perpetual absolute disqualification had already been removed. The Court found this submission untenable and ruled that the provisions of law can be reconciled—while section 40(a) allows a prior convict to run for local elective office after the lapse of two years from the time he served his sentence, 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. Article 30 provides that the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification has the effect of depriving the convict of the privilege to run for elective office. This is based on the presumption that one who is rendered infamous by conviction of a felony or other base offense indicative of moral turpitude, is unfit to hold public office, as the same partakes of the nature of a privilege which the State grants only to such classes of persons which are most likely to exercise it for the common good. Section 40(a) of the LGC should be considered a law of general application and therefore 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. Article 41 of the RPC also expressly states that the accessory
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Action Taken Discussion and Ratio

Article 30 provides that the penalties of perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification carries with it the deprivation of thr right to vote in any election for any popular office or to be elected to such office. 2 Section 40(a) of the LGC, applicable to local elective candidates, provides that “those sentenced to final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) or more of imprisonment within two (2) years after serving sentence” are disqualified. 2

penalty of disqualification remains even though one is pardoned as to the principal penalty unless the accessory penalty shall have been so expressly remitted in the pardon. In this case, 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.

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