Monday, October 11, 2021

Enactment of anti-nuisance candidates bill pushed

SENATOR SHERWIN  Sherwin ‘Win’ Gatchalian enjoins colleagues to consider the enactment of his bill seeking to institutionalize the grounds for declaration of nuisance political candidates and imposition of a fine for putting the election process in mockery or disrepute.  

Gatchalian said while the 1987 Constitution guarantees equal access to opportunities for public service, the Supreme Court resolution has clarified the view that running for public office is a privilege and not a right.

“Isang pribilehiyo ang makapaglingkod sa bayan kaya’t dapat na siniseryoso ito ng sinuman na gustong magserbisyo sa publiko. (It is a privilege to serve the people so anyone who wants to serve the public should take it seriously),” he said in a news release on Monday.

“Hindi kailanman katanggap-tanggap ang mga gawain na ang intensyon ay halata namang makapanlito lamang o gawing katawa-tawa ang eleksyon (The activities that are obviously intended to confuse or make the election ridiculous are not acceptable),” he added.

During the filing of certificate of candidacy at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City from Oct. 1 to 8, presidential aspirant Daniel Magtira claimed to be the “husband” of Kris Aquino and was previously declared by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as a nuisance candidate.

Laurencio Jun Yulaga, a self-proclaimed “international scientist” who claims to be a Harvard graduate and said that electrocution can cure Covid-19 also filed his COC for president. His running mate, Alexander Lague, said he owns an oil company and wants collected urine converted into perfume and fertilizer if he wins as vice president.

While candidates who will eventually be declared as “nuisance” by the Comelec and may have achieved their objectives of gaining 15 minutes of fame, they, however, should be held liable for their act, Gatchalian said.

In Gatchalian’s Senate Bill 726 or an Act Amending Sections 69, 261 (CC) and 264 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, he proposed the imposition of a fine of PHP50,000 against any person found by the Comelec to have put the election process in mockery or disrepute.

Although the Comelec is mandated by law to receive certificates of candidacies, Gatchalian said accommodating a greater number of candidates entails an increased allocation of time and resources.

A counterpart measure in the House of Representatives proposing heavier fines against nuisance candidates had been already approved on final reading last August. 

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