Comelec disqualifies Quezon congressional candidate

March 27, 2010 11:24 pm 

MANILA, March 27 — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has cancelled the certificate of candidacy of former Quezon Governor Eduardo T. Rodriguez for the May 10, 2010 polls due to “moral turpitude.”

In an 11-page ruling, the Comelec's Second Division gave importance to the evidence presented by Briccio Lagan, who filed the disqualification case against Rodriguez, claiming that the latter was convicted of 10 counts of insurance fraud and grand theft of property by the municipal court of Los Angeles Judicial District, County of Los Angeles, State of California, on April 28, 2004.

“In the present case, Lagan was able to prove, through criminal record No. A774567 that Rodriguez was convicted of several counts of felony for which he was sentenced to serve three years and eight months of imprisonment. The crimes representing fraudulent claims and grand theft of personal property also involve moral turpitude. Thus, under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), Rodriguez can only be qualified to run for public office five years after service of sentence,” said the ruling which was penned by Commissioner Elias Yusop.

Section 12 of the OEC states that “Any person who has been declared by competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense, for which he has been sentenced to a penalty for more than 18 months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.”

The ruling also noted that if Rodriguez completed serving his sentence from April 28, 2004 to June 2006, with the law stating that he would be allowed to run five years after serving his sentence, it would mean that the five years would end by June 2011.

Rodriguez had filed his certificate of candidacy for the third congressional district seat of Quezon province in the May 10 elections.

“Since five years have not yet lapsed from respondent’s service of sentence for his conviction of a crime for which he was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for more than 18 months, and which at the same time a crime involving moral turpitude, Rodriguez is therefore disqualified to run for the aforementioned position,” the ruling said.

The Comelec also noted that Rodriguez had misrepresented himself in his COC.

“He therefore committed a material misrepresentation in his COC when he declared therein that he is eligible for the office he seeks to be elected. The cancellation of his COC is therefore in order,” the resolution added. (PNA)



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