Government personnel should not engage in partisan politics
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 6, 2019 - 12:00am

This is a warning to all career public officials and personnel never to be involved in partisan political activities. It is an election offense and a criminal one, punishable by the Omnibus Elections Code. It is also an administrative offense punishable by the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as by the Code of Ethics of Public Officials and the Revised Administrative Code, and other laws, including the Philippine Constitution. Violators may be suspended up to six months for first offenders, and dismissed from the service for the second offence.

The penalty may carry the subsidiary penalties of forfeiture of all retirement benefits, as well as perpetual disqualification from holding public elective and appointive offices. There have been a lot of cases already decided by the courts and the Civil Service Commission. Thus, all government officials and personnel in the career service should be careful not to violate these very strict rules. If their close family members are running for public office, they should distance themselves from the candidates' political activities. Or else, they may jeopardize their job and face cases.

Under Section 2(4), Article IX (B) of the Philippine Constitution, it is explicitly provided that no officer or employee in the civil service shall engage in any electioneering or partisan political campaign. The Administrative Code, particularly Chapter 7, Section 55 is also very clear: No officer or employee in the civil service, including the officers and men in the armed forces of the Philippines and police forces shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity or take part in any election except to vote. Nor shall any such official and personnel use their authority or influence to coerce the political activity of any person or body.

Under section 261, it is an election offense, for any government official or personnel to engage in any partisan political activity and such is punishable by imprisonment. According to CSC MC 30-92, the following shall constitute such prohibited activities: Forming groups to campaign for or against any candidate or party, holding political caucuses or meetings, making speeches for or against a certain candidate or party, publishing or circulating partisan campaign materials, being a delegate to a political convention, giving or receiving political campaign contributions, and wearing any partisan t-shirts, caps and other partisan campaign materials.

For government officials and personnel who are spouses of candidates, as well as their close family members, think of the serious consequences of partisan politicking. Your opponents are waiting to file charge for serious criminal and administrative cases.

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