Comelec sets sights on poll offenders

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The elections may be over, but the job of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) continues, and after the proclamation of winning candidates, the poll body is preparing to pursue election offenders.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said all candidates in the May 9 elections should be preparing to submit their Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE).

“Win or lose, candidates must submit their SOCE to the Comelec,” Jimenez said in his Twitter account.

The Comelec previously approved a resolution asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to help in the investigation and prosecution of election offenses.

In the resolution dated May 5, the Comelec urged all DOJ prosecutors to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violations of election laws. 

The Comelec said the DOJ should designate five prosecutors as members of a special task force in the National Capital Region and two prosecutors in each province to comprise the Comelec-DOJ Special Task Force.

The Special Task Force would assist the Comelec and the DOJ in the preliminary investigation of election offenses that are punishable under the existing election laws and to prosecute the offenders.

Jimenez said Comelec rules and procedure would govern the preliminary investigation and prosecution of election law violation with the DOJ rules on preliminary investigation serving as “supplementary” basis.

According to the Comelec, the task force shall also receive from the Philippine National Police all documents and evidence concerning gun ban violations.

Buying or selling votes, maintenance of private armies, violation of the liquor ban, disruption of the election process and destruction of election paraphernalia are also considered as election offenses under the Omnibus Election Code.

Those found guilty of violating election laws face one to six years’ imprisonment, disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of right to suffrage.


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