Comelec orders Morato charged for electioneering
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday said it found probable cause against former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chair Manuel “Manoling” Morato, for violation of election laws when he used his television show in 2010 to endorse the candidacies of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and actor Edu Manzano for president and vice president.
The election body, through an en banc decision instructed its law department to file the appropriate criminal information against Morato in the proper court.
The Comelec, in a statement, said Morato violated Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), when as member of the PCSO board, he authorized the release of public funds to air his Television talk show “Dial M” on May 3 and 5, 2010, which he used to support the candidacies of Teodoro and Manzano.
The Comelec said Morato also used his show to campaign against senatorial candidates Teofisto Guingona III and Francis “Chiz” Escudero, both of whom won in 2010.
The Omnibus Election Code prohibits the use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign.
The Comelec added that Morato may have also violated Section 13 of Republic Act No. 9006 or the Fair Election Act of 2010, when on Jan. 14, 2010, he allegedly made campaign speeches for candidate Teodoro and against senatorial bets Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and Escudero.
Under the OEC and RA 9006, the two simple election offenses are punishable by one to six years in jail without probation, disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right to vote.