Comelec bars Jalosjos, brother from running in May polls

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has barred former Zamboanga del Norte representative Romeo Jalosjos and his brother Dominador, erstwhile mayor of Dapitan City, from running in the May elections. Romeo, a convicted rapist, was running for mayor in Zamboanga City while Dominador, who was convicted of robbery, was eyeing a gubernatorial post in Zamboanga del Norte. In two separate resolutions promulgated January 15, the Comelec unanimously cancelled the certificates of candidacy of the Jalosjos brothers. In one of the resolutions, the poll body said "the Commission is under a legal duty to abide by the final judgment issued by the judiciary." It was referring to a Supreme Court ruling in 2001 affirming Romeo's conviction for statutory rape. Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Wednesday also said a Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City found out that Romeo, whose lifetime sentence was commuted to 16 years in 2007 by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was not a resident of the said city.

“Nagkaroon ng findings ang RTC Zamboanga kay Romy Jalosjos na hindi siya resident ng Zamboanga. Therefore, he is not registered… kaya tinanggal na namin sya sa listahan kahapon,” Brillantes said. The Local Government Code requires that a candidate is allowed to run if he or she is a registered voter in the place she or he plans to be elected.

“He (Romeo Jalosjos) cannot run for mayor of Zamboanga City unless he goes up to the high court,” Brillantes said. On the other hand, Dominador was disqualified after the Supreme Court affirmed a decision of a local court convicting him of robbery.

“We are implementing it so he cannot run for governor of Zamboanga del Sur. It’s part of the perpetual disqualification,” Brillantes said of Dominador's case

The law bars a convict from running for public office. Brillantes also said the high court has said the poll body should in its own initiative disqualify those from running for office due to prison sentences.

— Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News