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People v.

GRs 132875-76 | February 3, 2000

Recit-Ready Digest:

Cong. Romeo Jalosjos, imprisoned in the national penitentiary for two counts of rape and acts of lasciviousness, filed
motion asking to be allowed to fully discharge duties of a Congressman (i.e. to attend legislative sessions, committee
meetings) despite having been convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable offense. He claims the people chose him
to represent them in Congress so he should be allowed to attend sessions freely (5 times a week). But the court ruled
that members of Congress are not exempt from detention for crime. They may be arrested even when the house is in
session, for crimes punishable by a penalty of more than six months.

Comprehensive Digest:

Jalosjos was re-elected as Representative of 1
District of Zamboanga del Norte despite the fact that he was
incarcerated for two counts of rape and acts of lasciviousness.
Filed Motion to be Allowed To Discharge Mandate As Member of House of Representatives
Primary argument of petitioner: the mandate of sovereign will claims he has the duty to perform functions
of a Congressman (attend sessions, blahblah) to be able to represent the people of his district.

W/N membership in Congress exempts petitioner from statutes and rules which apply to validly incarcerated persons in

True, election is the expression of the sovereign power of the people. In the exercise of suffrage, a free people expects
to achieve the continuity of government and the perpetuation of its benefits. However, in spite of its importance, the
privileges and rights arising from having been elected may be enlarged or restricted by law. A person charged with crime
is taken into custody for purposes of the administration of justice. Imprisonment is the restraint of a mans personal
liberty; coercion exercised upon a person to prevent the free exercise of his power to locomotion. Incarceration changes
an individuals statues in society.

Petitioner claims that fear that he might escape eventual punishment if permitted to perform congressional duties
outside his regular place of confinement (AKA Bilibid) is unfounded. But when a warrant for his arrest was issued, he fled
and evaded capture despite a call from his colleagues in the House of Reps for him to attend the sessions and to
surrender voluntarily to the authorities :P

Petition DENIED.