Congress urged to pass a law amending the definition of 'official candidate'

Published October 21, 2021, 11:25 AM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is hoping that Congress will also pass a law amending the definition of “official candidate.”


Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said this is in order to close the “premature campaigning loophole.”

The Poll Automation Law states that “any person who files his certificate of candidacy shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period” and that “unlawful acts applicable to a candidate shall be in effect only upon that start of the campaign period.”

This was affirmed by the 2009 Supreme Court case of Penera vs. Comelec, which paved the way for the removal of premature campaigning as an election offense.

On Twitter, Jimenez said there is also a need for a law regulating the use of social media for political campaigning, as well as a law expanding the reporting period for election spending.

Other legislations cited by the poll official are a law expanding the coverage of local absentee voting, and a law authorizing the use of internet voting for overseas voting.

The House of Representatives and the Senate last month fast tracked the passage of the law extending the voter registration period.

This resulted to moving the deadline for the voter registration for the May 2022 polls from Sept. 30 to Oct. 30.