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Jailed Philippines Lawmaker Wins

May 22, 2001

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Romeo Jalosjos, a congressman serving two life prison terms for raping an 11-year-old girl, won a third term in office in the Philippines’ legislative election, officials announced Tuesday.

Election officials traveled to the national penitentiary in Manila to notify Jalosjos of his victory in last week’s elections, winning re-election to the seat in southern Zamboanga del Norte province that he first won in 1995.

Prison officials have allowed him to hold office in a visiting area where he meets with a secretary and other people during office hours.

Jalosjos has been in prison since 1997, after being convicted of twice raping an 11-year-old girl. He was sentenced to two life terms, as well as eight to 15 more years for each of six counts of child sexual molestation. Jalosjos, who denies the charges, has appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court.

In 1998, he campaigned from prison and won a second term. He said he was not surprised by the latest victory.

``My constituents couldn’t see me in person, but they could feel the results of my decisions,″ Jalosjos told The Associated Press by telephone from prison. He said he had overseen a number of infrastructure projects for his district from behind bars.

Elections officials said Jalosjos, who ran under an opposition coalition, won overwhelmingly against a government-backed rival.

Filipinos voted last week for 17,600 municipal, provincial and congressional posts. Conclusive results from the hand count of ballots across the archipelago nation are not expected for days.

The election campaign saw violence that left at least 79 people dead since January. On Tuesday, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo urged radical changes to stop election violence and cheating while speeding up the counting.

``We need a new revolution against old politics, against the guns, goons and gold,″ Arroyo told a nationally televised news conference. ``The challenge for us is formidable.″

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