So as not to compromise the integrity and safety of the electoral process, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should quickly move to resolve disqualification cases, including cases involving nuisance candidates.
Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 1061 or An Act Providing an Additional Ground for Cancelling the Certificate of Candidacy of a Nuisance Candidate and Making the Acts of Nuisance Candidate an Election Offense, Amending Sections 69, 261 (CC) and 264 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.
The move could also potentially diffuse political tensions and deter bitter political conflicts in the country, said Gatchalian, citing the case of slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
Comelec proclaimed Degamo as the new winner of the 2022 Negros Oriental gubernatorial race in October last year after the poll body transferred to him the votes obtained by the candidate “Ruel G. Degamo” who was declared as a nuisance candidate four months after the elections. The Supreme Court upheld Comelec’s decision last month.
“The bill seeks to curb the emerging unethical electoral practice of some individuals profiting from the elections by using their names or resources with the end goal of abusing the system, and thus, debasing our constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage and free elections. Such practice must stop and identifying and penalizing these acts are the right steps in protecting our democracy,” Gatchalian said.
The proposed measure of Gatchalian provides that those who aim to obtain money, profit, or any other consideration in filing a certificate of candidacy will be considered a nuisance candidate. Under the existing law, candidates that fall under the following circumstances are considered nuisance candidates: those who aim to put the election process in mockery or disrepute, those who cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates, and those who have no bona fide intention to run for public office as demonstrated by any other circumstance or acts.
Meanwhile, Comelec earlier said it will move the filing of certificate of candidacy (CoC) for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) three months before the October 30 polls so it will have enough time to resolve disqualification and nuisance candidates cases.