Stiffer penalties including imprisonment should be imposed against nuisance candidacy to deter vicious political conflicts that sometimes lead to unwarranted loss of lives, according to Senator Win Gatchalian, in view of the ongoing Senate inquiry on the death of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
Gatchalian last year filed Senate Bill 1061 or An Act Providing An Additional Ground For Cancelling The Certificate Of Candidacy Of A Nuisance Candidate And Making The Acts Of A Nuisance Candidate An Election Offense. Under the bill, any person found guilty of any election offense, including committing prohibited acts as a nuisance candidate, shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation.
“The proposed measure could potentially defuse political tensions,” Gatchalian said.
“Inaasahan natin na ang pagsasabatas ng panukalang ito ay makakatulong para mas maging mapayapa ang panahon ng kampanya at eleksyon hindi lamang para sa mga kandidato kundi sa ating mga mamamayan. Matagal na din tayong nagtitiis sa abala na dulot ng panggugulo ng mga nuisance candidates at mga pwersa na sumusuporta sa kanila,” he added.
Other proposed penalties provided in the bill include disqualification to hold public office, deprivation of the right to vote, and to pay a fine of P50,000 to the Commission on Elections. Also, any political party found guilty shall pay a fine of not less than P10,000.
“It’s high time we criminalize nuisance candidacy in order to further protect the integrity of electing public officials and hoping that the process will put an end to political violence in the country,” the senator emphasized.
Comelec proclaimed Degamo as the new winner in the 2022 Negros Oriental gubernatorial race after the poll body transferred to him the votes obtained by candidate “Ruel G. Degamo” who was declared as a nuisance four months after the elections. The Supreme Court upheld Comelec’s decision to declare “Ruel G. Degamo” as a nuisance candidate.