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Comelec wants polls rid of ‘illiterate’ candidates

October 3, 2010 8:29pm
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may ask Congress to legislate additional requirements for persons running for public posts to rid elections of “illiterate" candidates, Palace officials suggested Sunday.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the poll body may seek legislation that will impose requirements on literacy and educational attainment for candidates for public offices. “That is a recommendation that the Comelec should address the legislative branch since that involves policy and an amendment in the law," he said.

Lacierda made the comment after Comelec officials raised concerns about the quality of candidates in the barangay elections scheduled later this month.

Lacierda said he respects Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez’s appeal to voters to elect literate candidates instead of the popular ones who could only sing and dance. Jimenez also earlier said candidates who could not read and write should be disqualified.

Lacierda, however, said he still has to check if there is a provision in existing elections laws that requires candidates to be literate or educated before they can run for public office.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, for her part, said she is not aware of any specific provision in election laws requiring candidates to be educated before they could enter public service.

Ang naaalala ko kasi dito, wala namang requirement sa Constitution pagdating sa mga pagtakbo ng mga gustong magsilbi sa bayan… Ang pagkakalaala ko kahit sa Pangulo, wala tayong tinatawag na educational requirement," Valte said.

(If I remember it right, there is no education requirement in the Constitution for people who are running for public positions, including for President.)

She, however, said Jimenez’s call to disqualify illiterate candidates should be carefully studied.
Kung ano ang batas, sundin natin ito (We have to follow what the law states). Anything that is maybe in excess of what the Constitution requires maybe struck down by the Supreme Court if it comes to that."

The Local Government Code requires that candidates for barangay captain (village chief) are able to read and write in Filipino or any other local language. - Jerrie Abella/KBK, GMANews.TV
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