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G.R. No. 47941 – 71 Phil. 34 – Political Law – Pardon – Restoration of Civil and Political Rights
Santos was convicted of the crime of estafa. He was given pardon by the president but even prior to his pardon he was already holding the position as the municipality president of Malabon notwithstanding his conviction. Cristobal, on the other hand, averred that Santos should be excluded from the list of electors in Malabon because he was already convicted of final judgment “for any crime against property”. This is pursuant to CA 357 of the New Election Code. The lower court presided by Labrador ruled that Santos is exempt from the provision of the law by virtue of the pardon restoring the respondent to his “”full civil and political rights, except that with respect to the right to hold public office or employment, he will be eligible for appointment only to positions which are clerical or manual in nature and involving no money or property responsibility.”
ISSUE: Whether or not Santos should not be excluded as an elector.
HELD: It should be observed that there are two limitations upon the exercise of this constitutional prerogative by the Chief Executive, namely: (a) that the power be exercised after conviction; and (b) that such power does not extend cases of impeachment. Subject to the limitations imposed by the Constitution, the pardoning power cannot be restricted or controlled by legislative action. It must remain where the sovereign authority has placed it and must be exercised by the highest authority to whom it is entrusted. An absolute pardon not only blots out the crime committed, but removes all disabilities resulting from the conviction. In the present case, the disability is the result of conviction without which there would be no basis for disqualification from voting. Imprisonment is not the only punishment which the law imposes upon those who violate its command. There are accessory and resultant disabilities, and the pardoning power likewise extends to such disabilities. When granted after the term of imprisonment has expired, absolute pardon removes all that is left of the consequences of conviction. In the present case, while the pardon extended to respondent Santos is conditional in the sense that “he will be eligible for appointment only to positions which a e clerical or manual in nature involving no money or property responsibility,” it is absolute insofar as it “”restores the respondent to full civil and political rights. Upon other hand, the suggestion that the disqualification imposed in par (b) of sec 94 of CA 357, does not fall within the purview of the pardoning power of the president, would lead to the impairment of the pardoning power of the president, not contemplated in the Constitution, and would lead furthermore to the result that there would be no way of restoring the political privilege in a case of this nature except through legislative action.