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Ilocos Sur Rep. Singson wins disqualification case in SC

Jul 27, 2015 @ 2:07

Ilocos Sur 1st District Rep. Ronald Singson cannot be disqualified or ousted from Congress in connection with his 2010 conviction for an illegal drugs case in Hong Kong.

In a ruling, the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed a motion for reconsideration asking the High Court to reverse its ruling and oust the son of former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson.

“The court resolved to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration as no substantial arguments were presented to warrant reversal of the questioned resolution,” it said.

The SC added that “no further pleadings or motions shall be entertained.”

The High Tribunal stood by its April 21, 2015 ruling that said the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) were both correct in not disqualifying and ejecting Singson from his post in the House of Representatives.

It said the HRET and the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction that would warrant the reversal of their earlier rulings.

The petition was filed by Singson’s opponent Bertrand Baterina, citing his eligibility to run because of prior conviction involving moral turpitude.

The SC argued that the crime of Singson does not involve moral turpitude since the crime was only possession of illegal drugs for his own consumption, not drug trafficking.

“We have held that moral turpitude implies something ‘immoral in itself,’ regardless of the fact that it is punishable by law or not. It must not merely be mala prohibita but the act itself must be inherently immoral. The doing of the act itself, and not its prohibition by statute, fixes the moral turpitude,” it said.

The young Singson was arrested in Hong Kong for possession of 0.24 ounce of cocaine at Hong Kong’s international airport in July 2010.

He was subsequently convicted by the Hong Kong District Court after pleading guilty and was sentenced in February 2011 to 1 year and 6 months in prison. He resigned after being released.

When the May 13, 2013 elections came, Singson ran again for Congress and fought with Baterina.

He got a total of 83,910 votes over Baterina’s 40,135 votes.

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