TAPE president’s motion for reconsideration with SC receives backing from Comelec and OSG

President and CEO of TV Network Files Motion for Reconsideration in Election Disqualification Case

Romeo Jalosjos Jr., the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Television and Production Exponents Inc. (TAPE), has taken legal action to challenge the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision to unseat him as the proclaimed congressman of the first district of Zamboanga City.

In a ruling issued on August 8, the SC ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to proclaim Roberto Uy Jr., Jalosjos’ rival in the May 2022 elections, as the winner and annulled Jalosjos’ proclamation. This decision prompted Jalosjos to file a motion for reconsideration on November 3, after receiving a copy of the SC’s ruling on October 18.

Jalosjos argued in his motion that since he was already proclaimed as the winner in the congressional race for the first district of Zamboanga City, the jurisdiction over the case should lie with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), not the Supreme Court. Furthermore, he pointed out that he had fulfilled the three requisites for the HRET to assume jurisdiction – being proclaimed, taking the oath of office, and assuming office as a member of the House of Representatives on June 30, 2022.

Jalosjos also cited the disqualification of another candidate, Frederico “Kuya Jan” Jalosjos, who was declared a nuisance candidate by the Comelec in April 2022. Following a writ of execution issued on June 16, 2022, which directed the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) of Zamboanga del Norte to credit Frederico Jalosjos’ votes in favor of Romeo Jalosjos Jr., the latter was proclaimed as the winner of the election.

Supporting Jalosjos’ position, the Comelec, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed its own motion for reconsideration with the SC. The Comelec argued that the HRET should have jurisdiction over the case and requested the SC to reverse its decision. It emphasized that the jurisdiction of the HRET was established when Jalosjos was proclaimed by the PBOC of Zamboanga del Norte on June 23, 2022, and subsequently took his oath of office on the same day.

The Comelec further stated that the issuance of a status quo ante order (SQAO) by the SC cannot divest the HRET of its exclusive jurisdiction over post-proclamation congressional election contests. It also highlighted the fact that Frederico Jalosjos received only 5,424 votes out of a total of 144,412 cast, supporting its previous declaration that he was a nuisance candidate.

In its motion, the Comelec asked the SC to reconsider its decision, dismiss the consolidated petitions for lack of jurisdiction, and issue a new decision. The Comelec maintained that the HRET is the appropriate body to handle the election contest and called for the SC to recognize this jurisdiction.

The motions for reconsideration filed by Jalosjos and the Comelec will be thoroughly reviewed by the Supreme Court, which will then decide whether to reverse its decision on the election dispute. The outcome of this case will play a crucial role in determining the rightful representative of the first district of Zamboanga City.

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