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Comelec pushes prison, P.5 million fine for nuisance bets

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Comelec pushes prison, P.5 million fine for nuisance bets
This file photo shows the Commission on Elections headquarters in Manila.
Philstar.com / AJ Bolando, file

MANILA, Philippines — Nuisance candidates and their accomplices – those who pushed them to file their candidacy – should be meted a prison term of up to six years, fined no less than P500,000 and disqualified from holding public office, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Erwin Garcia said yesterday.

“Nuisance candidates can run again in the next election even if they are disqualified. They are making a mockery of the election process,” he said in Filipino in an interview, pointing out that such candidates must be taught a lesson.

Garcia issued the statement a few months before the filing of certificates of candidacy for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2.

Comelec spokesman Rex Laudiangco said that under current election laws, those who are declared nuisance candidates suffer “no penalty aside from being declared as one and their name removed from the official list of candidates.”

If the decision declaring a candidate as a nuisance is issued after voting, “the votes will be credited to the legitimate candidate,” Laudiangco said.

Aside from heftier penalties, Garcia also underscored the Comelec’s role to immediately act on all the cases filed against nuisance candidates.

“Our commitment before the Senate is for the Comelec to decide on all nuisance cases before the Oct. 30 elections this year and the elections in May 2025,” he said.

Garcia said the Comelec should immediately resolve cases involving nuisance candidates, especially during automated elections such as in 2025, so they will not affect the printing of ballots, which will start in December 2024.

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