Offenders to be penalized P100,000

TACLOBAN CITY- A bill filed by Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento penalizing so-called nuisance candidates was approved last week by the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms of the House of Representatives.
Sarmiento’s bill seeks to amend section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code which penalizes nuisance candidates by just cancelling their certificates of candidacy.
Under the measure of the Samar solon, those who will be proven to be just nuisance candidates will be fined of at least P100,000, aside from the cancellation of his or her certificate of candidacy.
Similarly, those who will ‘induce’ the nuisance candidate to file his or her certificate of candidacy will also be penalized of the same amount, the bill reads.
But for Ladylyn Lim, senior faculty member of UP-Tacloban, the intention of the measure may be commendable but doubts if it would really achieve its goal.
According to Lim, considering of how the country’s justice work, she is apprehensive that the names of the alleged nuisance candidates may still run.
“Our justice system does not work in time. The case may not be resolved until even elections time,” she said.
Lim also finds the penalty of P100,000 to be rather small.
“The penalty should have variations. The higher the positions being contested, the higher the penalty. I find it really cheap…the amount is only for those seeking a barangay position not for city or province, for example,” she added.
She, however, commended Sarmiento for coming with this kind of measure saying the intention is ‘good.’
The Omnibus Election Code defines a nuisance candidate as a person who files his or her certificate of candidacy ‘to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of names of the registered candidates… or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bonafide intention to run for the office.’
Sarmiento, who is just serving on his first term as Samar’s congressman representing its first congressional district, said that with the penalty he is introducing, this could serve as a ‘deterrent’ for those who will run just to confuse or diminish the chances of legitimate candidates to poll victory.
Under House Bill Number 91, which he filed on July 23,2019, Sarmiento said that by prohibiting nuisance candidates to run, this will ‘ensure fairness and integrity’ of the conduct of the elections.
“Our quest for a better Philippines begins with our ballot. This House bill seeks to ensure the integrity of the voice of the Filipino voter,” he said in a statement.
During the 2019 elections, the provincial elections office in Samar has noted at least 15 individuals were considered to be nuisance candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy mostly for provincial or congressional posts.
The country is set to conduct a presidential elections next year.