‘Junjun Binay not disqualified from 2019 mayoral race’
Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - November 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay is still running for the city’s top post in the 2019 midterm polls, former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes clarified yesterday.

Brillantes made the statement amid misleading reports that Binay had been disqualified from the mayoral race.

Brillantes, who is Binay’s lawyer, said it is the Comelec and not the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which should decide whether the former mayor can run or not.

“The DILG has no jurisdiction over Binay’s case. The spokesman for the Comelec has declared he is not barred from running in 2019,” Brillantes said, referring to James Jimenez.

Last month, Jimenez said Binay could run in the elections unless there is final conviction on his pending cases.

“Unless there is a court decision that is final and executory, a candidate cannot be barred from seeking public office,” Jimenez said.

The former mayor has been found guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the P1.3-billion Makati Science High School building.

Binay had been dismissed from the service and perpetually barred from holding public office. 

But the Court of Appeals reversed the ombudsman’s decision citing the “Condonation Doctrine,” which prevents the administrative disciplining of elective officials for offense committed during their immediate preceeding term.

Brillantes said the case in question could not be use to stop Binay from seeking public office. 

“The decision of the ombudsman in connection with the construction of the Makati Science High School building is on appeal and therefore, not final and executory,” the lawyer said.

Brillantes said the Supreme Court has previously ruled that only a final and executory judgment that carries with it an accessory penalty of disqualification from holding public office can disqualify a person from running in the elections under Section 40 of the Local Government Code.

“The jurisprudence on the matter is clear––the Comelec can only bar those who have been perpetually disqualified from holding public office,” he said.” 

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