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Politiko wants P50K fine vs. nuisance candidates

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin T. Gatchalian has recently filed a bill widening the legal grounds by which the Commission on Elections could classify individuals as nuisance candidates.

In House Bill 6252, Gatchalian said that there is an urgent need to institutionalize other grounds to determine what nuisance candidates are, and further classify these acts as election offenses meriting commensurate fines.

HB 6252, which seeks to amend the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, proposes to include “to obtain money, profit, or any other considerations” to the provisions of the law enumerating grounds for classifying a candidate as a nuisance candidate.

Gatchalian said that the 1987 Constitution guarantees equal access to opportunities for public service.

“However, in a resolution of the Supreme Court, it clarified the view that running for public office is a privilege, not a right. It is subject to the limitations imposed by law and must take into account practical considerations,” he said

Although the Comelec is mandated by law to receive these certificates of candidacies as its ministerial duty, Gatchalian said that the onslaught of candidates who does not intend nor has the logistical capacity to launch a viable campaign unnecessarily engender additional financial burden to the cash-strapped Comelec for increased allocation of time and resources.

The new automated system would require printing of additional ballots to accommodate the greater number of candidates, he added.

Meanwhile, under the the bill any person who was found by the commission, after due notice and hearing, to have fled a certificate of candidacy, under any of following circumstances: To put the election process in mockery or disrepute; To cause among voters by similarity of the names of the registered candidates; To obtain money, profit, or any other consideration or: By any other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electrolate, shall pay a fine of P50,000 to the Comelec.