Saying a provision in the Local Government Code has restored his right to vote and to run for office, convicted rapist Romeo Jalosjos on Monday asked the Supreme Court to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from disqualifying him to run for mayor in Zamboanga City in the May polls.
In a 60-page petition for certiorari, Jalosjos accused the Comelec of grave abuse of discretion and for violating his right to due process of the law when it canceled his certificate of candidacy (COC).
Moreover, he said through his lawyers, Romulo Macalintal and Edgardo Carlo Vistan, that the poll body based its action on his being perpetually barred from voting because of his rape conviction and because he was not a resident of Zamboanga City.
Jalosjos was convicted of statutory rape in 1996 and sentenced to life imprisonment, which carries with it the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification to vote in any election or to be elected in office, in accordance with Article 30 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). But he was released from prison after serving a commuted term in 2009.
In his petition, Jalosjos said the RPC provision did not apply to him because it had been “partially amended” by Section 40 (a) of Republic Act No. 7160, or the Local Government Code.
That provision stated those disqualified from running for any elective local position were “those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one year or more of imprisonment, within two years after serving sentence.”
Jalosjos said this meant that his disqualification was effective only “within two years after serving sentence.”
Since the former congressman was released on March 18, 2009, Jalosjos said he filed his COC for Zamboanga City mayor on Oct. 5, 2012, or after more than two years.
Jalosjos said the poll body en banc did not have jurisdiction over five disqualification cases filed against him that were pending before its first and second divisions.
He asked the Supreme Court to conduct a special raffle of his petition so that it could issue a status quo ante order stopping the Comelec from implementing its resolution against him.