House panel OKs P100K fine on nuisance candidates

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    THE House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms yesterday approved a measure seeking to impose a P100,000 fine on nuisance candidates to deter the practice of indiscriminate filing of certificates of candidacy to mock the electoral process or shave off votes from certain candidates.

    The panel approved Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento’s House Bill No. 91 which seeks to amend Section 69 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 or the Omnibus Election Code.

    “As a deterrent to such practice, a penalty heavier than mere refusal of due course or cancellation of a certificate of candidacy must be imposed upon those who maliciously file of cause the filing of the same,” the lawmaker said.

    The Omnibus Election Code defines a nuisance candidate as a person who filed a COC “to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office.”

    Under the bill, the Comelec may impose the penalty of a fine of not less than P100,000 on a nuisance candidate “upon proof of malice of gross bad faith.”

    Any person named in the verified petition and found to have been in conspiracy with or to have induced the person who filed such certificate shall also be made to pay the fine.