The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will propose to criminalize nuisance candidates, spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said Sunday.
Laudiangco said this after the poll body recently invalidated the electoral win of Negros Oriental Governor Henry Teves in the May 9 gubernatorial race, when the votes garnered by a certain nuisance candidate, “Ruel Degamo,” were credited to another candidate, 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 he or she 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 the candidate’s declaration as a nuisance and his or her certificate of candidacy denied due course or canceled.
Laudiangco said the emergence of nuisance candidates has become a trend every election, thus those involved already need to be penalized.
“(Comelec) Chairman George 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,” he said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.
“So, Comelec will propose for it to be criminalized so that they will be punished with jail time and fines,” he added.
Earlier, Garcia called on Congress to amend the rules of procedure against nuisance candidates eyeing a government post, saying 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.