By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter
SENATOR SHERWIN T. Gatchalian wants nuisance candidates to be penalized under his proposed measure which seeks amendments to Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 or the Omnibus Election Code.
“We have seen that there are those who filed their candidacy who were obviously not serious in filing….We are pleased that we have a lot of people who want to be involved in nation-building by offering themselves to be public servants. But of course, this candidacy is subject to the limitations imposed by law and must take into account practical considerations,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
“I hope that we pass this bill as soon as possible so that we can stop those who have no serious plans to run when filing the CoC (Certificate of Candidacy),” he added.
Senate Bill No. 911 provides other grounds to determine what nuisance candidates are. The proposed measure allows the Commission on Election (Comelec) to cancel a CoC of an aspirant if it finds that the document was filed to obtain money and profit or the aspirant has demonstrated that he or she has no valid intention to run for public office.
A P50,000 fine may be imposed on a person who is found to have filed a CoC in order to put the elections in mockery or disrepute, to cause confusion among voters by similarity of the names of the registered candidates, to obtain money or profit, or to commit any other acts that clearly showed that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for office.
Mr. Gatchalian said the onslaught of nuisance candidates have wasted the previous time and resources of Comelec. He also pointed out that although the 1987 Constitution guarantees equal opportunities for public service, the Supreme Court has ruled that running for public office is a privilege, not a right.
Some 18,095 number of seats are up for grabs in the upcoming midterm elections, according to the Comelec. For the senatorial elections, a total of 104 personalities have filed their CoC. The polls body will soon evaluate the CoCs and will come up with an official list of candidates.