Sandiganbayan: Pending court cases won't disqualify candidates from election bid

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2018 04:06 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan said Wednesday those who have cases at the anti-graft court may run in the 2019 midterm polls if they have not been handed a “final and executory” conviction.

Asked if politicians who have pending graft and plunder cases may seek office in the midterm elections, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said only a final and executory conviction could bar them from running for public office.

Among high-profile candidates who have pending cases at the anti-graft court are those accused of plunder in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam: former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla. 

The three have all filed their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections.

Among the cases, only Revilla’s is ripe for decision. He is also the only one of the three who remains detained. 

“Conviction per se is not a disqualification. The judgment of conviction must be final and executory. This means that the judgment of conviction is ripe for execution, which is realized by the service of the sentence by the convicted accused,” Tang said in a text statement.

“The pendency of a criminal case is not a disqualifying circumstance,” Tang said.

While Revilla is awaiting the decision on his case, Estrada and Enrile as well as several others accused in the pork barrel scam are still undergoing trial.