Punish nuisance candidates now – Gatchalian
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is urging the Senate to hasten the passage of his bill that would penalize so-called “nuisance candidates.”
Gatchalian made the call after noting the numerous nuisance candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.
“Nakita naman natin ‘yong mga kumandidato na alam mo namang hindi talaga seryoso o trip-trip lang ‘yong pag-file, like for example si Jesus Christ na taga-Cebu at saka ‘yong mga ex daw nina Kris Aquino at Mocha Uson. May King of Maharlika pa nga raw. Sana naman ay hindi nila babuyin ‘yong proseso,” he said in a statement.
The senator pointed out that while the 1987 Constitution guarantees equal access to opportunities for public service, the Supreme Court has also ruled that “running for public office is a privilege, not a right.”
“Natutuwa tayo na we have a lot of people who want to be involved in nation-building by offering themselves to be public servants,” he said.
“Pero siyempre itong pagkakandidato ay subject to the limitations imposed by law and must take into account practical considerations.
Gatchalian lamented that the onslaught of these nuisance candidates is wasting the “precious time and resources” of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
If passed into law, he said, Senate Bill No. 911, which he filed, would penalize those who merely use the COC filing period as a platform to disrespect the electoral process.
Under the bill, the Comelec may cancel a COC if, after affording due process to the filing party, it finds that said certificate was filed to “obtain money, profit, or any other consideration.”
A fine of P50,000 is being proposed in the bill for any person who had filed a COC only to put the election process in “mockery or disrepute; cause confusion among voters by similarity of the names of the registered candidates; obtain money, profit or any other consideration; or under any other circumstances or acts clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for office.”
“Sana maipasa na ang panukalang batas na ito sa lalong madaling panahon para mapigilan ang mga hindi naman talaga seryosong balak tumakbo sa pagfile ng mga COC,” Gatchalian said. /cbb
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