‘Not all convicts prohibited’: Comelec spox cites rules on disqualification

November 15, 2021 - 3:08 PM
This undated photo shows the Commission on Elections office at the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila. (pdgcc.gov.ph)

(Updated 4:30 p.m.) Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said some convicted criminals are not allowed to join the electoral race.

Jimenez issued this reminder in response to a Twitter user who asked if convicted criminals could run for the elections.

“Convicts have been messaging us and asking if they too can run for the highest office in the Philippines; please clarify,” the Twitter user asked.

In a quote-retweet on November 13, Jimenez responded by citing a part of Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code.

“A person convicted by final judgment for the crime of subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offence for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than 18 months or for a crime involving moral turpitude shall be disqualified,” he said.

“This disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed removed upon the declaration by competent authority that said insanity or incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period of five years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again becomes disqualified,” the provision on disqualification read.

In a separate tweet on Monday, Jimenez clarified he responded to the tweet that “was trying to insinuate that convicts are barred from running.”

“I showed that not all convicts are prohibited, only those who have been sentenced to 18 months or more, or those convicted for crimes involving moral turpitude,” he said.

On nuisance candidates

Jimenez responded to the Twitter query last Saturday as some Twitter users are calling on the poll body to declare some political aspirants as nuisance candidates.

One Twitter user cited a provision on the grounds Comelec may declare a candidate as “nuisance.”

These grounds were also stated in the Section 69 of the OEC which listed the following as grounds to be declared a nuisance candidate:

  • Put the election process in mockery;
  • Disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances;
  • 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 electorate.

These talks came after President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and other prominent political figures suddenly filed certificates of candidacy for president, vice president and senator for the 2022 national elections.

They made these political moves ahead of November 15, the deadline of the substitution filing.

Some Twitter users denounced these activities and perceived them as a “mockery” to the poll process.

“Bong Go from VP to President, Sara Duterte filing for VP, Bato withdrawal from Presidency, and Duterte running for VP. All in less than six hours. THEY ARE MAKING A JOKE OF ELECTIONS,” one user said.

To recap, Duterte-Carpio is now the running mate of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as an adopted candidate of his party, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP).

READ: ‘Bong’ vs ‘Bongbong’ election drama builds, Duterte move eyed

Duterte-Carpio recently joined Lakas-CMD, the political party of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Neophyte Sen. Christopher Go, also Duterte’s long-time aide, on the other hand, withdrew his vice presidential bid under the ruling party PDP-Laban faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi. He is now running for president under Partido ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan, replacing Greco Belgica.

The chief executive is also expected to file his COC on Monday.

Reports said Duterte will announce his election plan on Monday afternoon.

(Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct the headline and lead indicating “convicts are not allowed to join 2022 polls.”)