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Gatchalian moves to amend provisions of Omnibus Election Code to prevent nuisance candidates

Photo credit: NewsCentral PH

Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian has moved to amend the Omnibus Election Code to prevent nuisance candidates from running in the polls to make profit or make fun of the country’s electoral system.

The Valenzuela City lawmaker filed House Bill No. 6252, which seeks to authorize the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of a prospective candidate if he or she intends to run for a public post “to obtain money, profit, or any other consideration”.

Other circumstances in the current law include mocking the election process, causing confusion among voters by similarity of the names of registered candidates, and any other circumstances, which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for office.

“There have been candidates even in the past who only filed COCs so they can raise money during campaign for personal gain, to get public attention, or to simply make fun of the elections,” said Gatchalian, who is running for senator under the Partido Galing at Puso (PGP).

Gatchalian said that through these amendments, “those who want to run for a public post to make money from it or to make a mockery of our elections will be discouraged from filing their COCs.”

He proposes in the bill to make the filing of certificate under the said circumstances an election offense. It seeks to impose a fine of P50,000 as well to any person found guilty of committing an election offense. Such fine shall be paid to the Comelec.

Gatchalian is included in the PGP senatorial slate of presidential frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe and leading vice-presidential bet Sen. Francis Escudero.

The former three-time Valenzuela City mayor believes that under a Grace Poe presidency, no Filipino will be left behind. “Every Filipino will be afforded the opportunities necessary to partake of the economic gains,” he said.

High quality and accessible education for all Filipinos is the main legislative agenda of Gatchalian if he is elected to Senate in May 2016.

Gatchalian is the author of House Bill No. 5905, also known as the “Free Higher Education Act,” which will fully subsidize tuition fee in all state universities and colleges (SUCs) for all current and future enrollees provided they maintain good academic and moral standing. The measure has already been approved at the committee level. (R. Burgos)