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Comelec wants 'nuisance candidates' criminalized

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will propose to criminalize nuisance candidates, spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said Sunday.

Laudiangco made the remark after Comelec recently invalidated the electoral win of Negros Oriental Governor Henry Teves in the May 2022 gubernatorial race, when the votes garnered by a certain nuisance candidate “Ruel Degamo” was credited to another rival, former Governor Roel Degamo.

Based on Comelec Rules of Procedure Part V, Rule 24, any candidate is identified to have no bona fide intention to run for public office if s/he puts 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 who by other acts or circumstances.”

This may then result in his/her declaration as a nuisance candidate and his/her certificate of candidacy to be denied due course or canceled.

Laudiangco said that the emergence of nuisance candidates has become a trend every election, thus those involved already need to be penalized.

“Isusulong po sa pamamagitan ng administration ni Chairman George Garcia na sana ‘yung mga ganitong bagay ay mai-declare, ma-criminalize po kasi nagiging uso ito. Paulit-ulit na lang kada eleksyon, meron at merong tumatakbo na halos kapangalan, katunog ng pangalan ng mga lehitimong kandidato na ang tanging dahilan ay para gawing mockery ang eleksyon, lituhin ang mga tao,” he said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.

(Chairman Garcia's administration will push for the declaration of the criminalization of nuisance candidates because it is becoming a trend. Every election, there are candidates running with the same names as their rivals to make the election a mockery or to confuse the people.)

“So, isusulong po ng Comelec na sana ma-criminalize ito nang hindi lang sa boto ang pinaguusapan natin, kundi maparusahan sila ng may pagkaka-kulong at ma-fine po,” he added.

(Thus, Comelec will propose for it to be criminalized so that they will be punished with jail time and fines.)

Earlier poll body chairman Garcia called on the Congress to amend the rules of procedure against nuisance candidates eyeing for a government post, saying that it may already be time to give an updated definition of what and who nuisance candidates really are.

Garcia also recommended that criminal charges be filed against nuisance candidates if proven that their purpose for running for public office was to put the elections in bad faith.

He said he instructed the Comelec en banc to make decisions pertaining nuisance candidacy by December, should the 2022 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) push through. —LBG, GMA News