An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said she supports a proposal to impose a fine against persons aspiring for political posts but who will be declared nuisance candidates.
In a Senate electoral reforms committee hearing, Maria Norina Tangaro-Casingal, director of the Comelec Law Department said she supports the P100,000 penalty, adding that the country’s Omnibus Election Code does not impose any penalties or fines against nuisance candidates.
Earlier, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 9557 which proposes penalties for persons filing their certificate of candidacies “to put the elections process in mockery.”
A GMA News report further quoted Tangaro-Casingal, appearing in front of senators, as saying that “we also would like to propose that those who have been declared as nuisance candidates be disqualified from running for two successive elections” and that those who have been declared nuisance candidates could not file a substitution for another candidate.”
Senator Imee Marcos, chairperson of the Senate panel, has supported the poll official’s proposal.
Reports say that in the 2016 polls, there have been more than 250 certificate of candidacies for national posts such as president, vice president and senators declared by the Comelec as “nuisance candidates”
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian earlier filed a bill to halt the option of substituting for an electoral aspirant who voluntarily withdraws his or her candidacy in forthcoming elections.
Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri and Senators Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, and Joel Villanueva are co-authors of the bill.
Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code allows substitution to replace an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party who dies, or gets disqualified for any cause or withdraws from the electoral race.
Gatchalian said this has been abused over the years. He said the practice has become a mockery of the process of filing of certificates of candidacies.
In seeking to amend the Omnibus Election Code, Gatchalian proposed the replacement of a candidate only if the original aspirant becomes incapacitated.
“The ballot is sacred. So, it is necessary to protect the filing of candidacy during elections,” he said.