MANILA - Former Congressman Romeo Jalosjos has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse a Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling disqualifying him from the Zamboanga City mayoralty race in 2013.
In a 60-page petition for certiorari, Jalosjos claimed the poll body committed grave abuse of discretion in denying due course to his certificate of candidacy (COC) on the ground that he was previously convicted for the crime of rape. The poll body pointed out that the penalty meted on him included "perpetual disqualification from holding public office."
Jalosjos cried foul that he was not given an opportunity to be heard.
"In this case, the violation of petitioner's due process rights is so glaring that it is very easy to appreciate the same and set aside the assailed resolution. It must be stressed that even nuisance candidates are given an opportunity to be heard before their COCs are cancelled although the rules say that the Comelec may 'motu proprio' declare a candidate as a nuisance candidate," the petition read.
Atty. Romulo Macalintal, Jalosjos' lawyer, stressed that the "motu proprio" rule being implemented by the Comelec is not provided for in the Rules of the poll body and "constitutes an amendment of the Comelec Rules which has to be published first before it could be implemented."
The petition also pointed out that the Comelec ruling "preempted or prevented" the Court of Appeals (CA) from deciding on Jalosjos' plea on the "clear and definite interpretation of the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office on the crime for which he was convicted."
“Thus, by issuing the said resolution without any notice or hearing, the Comelec En Banc has preempted the action of the Court of Appeals on the said case and depriving Jalosjos of his constitutional right to due process,” the petition read.
Jalosjos argued that more than 2 years had already lapsed since he served his sentence thereby making him eligible to run for the local post.
Jalosjos urged the high court to issue a status quo ante order so that his name may be reinstated as a candidate for the mayoralty post.