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People v.

[G.R. Nos. 132875-76. February 3, 2000]

The accused-appellant, Romeo G. Jalosjos is a full-fledged member of Congress who is
now confined at the national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape on two
counts and acts of lasciviousness on six counts is pending appeal. The accused-
appellant filed this motion asking that he be allowed to fully discharge the duties of a
Congressman, including attendance at legislative sessions and committee meetings
despite his having been convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable offense.

Whether or not being a Congressman is a substantial differentiation which removes the
accused-appellant as a prisoner from the same class as all persons validly confined
under law by reason of the mandate of the sovereign will.

NO. While the Constitution guarantees: x x x nor shall any person be denied the equal
protection of laws., this simply means that all persons similarly situated shall be treated
alike both in rights enjoyed and responsibilities imposed. The duties imposed by the
mandate of the people are multifarious. The Court cannot validate badges of
inequality. The necessities imposed by public welfare may justify exercise of
government authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly assert
that their interests are disregarded. Here, election to the position of Congressman is not
a reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement. The functions and duties of the
office are not substantial distinctions which lift him from the class of prisoners
interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and
confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those belonging to
the same class. Hence, the performance of legitimate and even essential duties by
public officers has never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison.