Violation of health protocols during campaign activities considered as election offense –Comelec

Published November 21, 2021, 7:12 PM

by Analou de Vera


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that violating health and safety protocols during campaign activities is considered an election offense.

This was based on the poll body’s Resolution No. 10730 that was promulgated last Nov. 17.

“Any violation of Fair Elections Act and these Rules shall constitute an election offense,” the Comelec said.

The Comelec said that it is necessary to adhere to the health protocols set by authorities.

It said that the following safety measures “shall be observed at all times in all activities” including but not limited to: wearing of face mask and face shield; one-meter physical distancing; frequent disinfection of hands; and proper cough and sneezing etiquette.

“It shall likewise be unlawful for any candidate, party, or any person to act in a manner that violate the minimum health and safety protocols, and other applicable guidelines prescribed by the Comelec and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases,” the poll body said.

The Comelec said that election candidates or political parties must submit an “affidavit of compliance with health protocols” after each of their “in-person” campaign activity.

“Within 24 hours after the conclusion of any in-person campaign activity, the campaign organizing staff shall submit a notarized Affidavit of Compliance with Health Protocols to the Comelec with territorial jurisdiction over the place where the in-person campaign activity was conducted,” the poll body said.

The Comelec said that any violation of the rules stated in the said resolution and of the Fair Elections Act is “punishable under the first and second paragraph of Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code and other pertinent laws, rules and regulations, whenever applicable.”

Under Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code, “any person found guilty of any election offense under this Code shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.”

“The Commission shall, through its duly authorized legal officers, have the power, concurrent with other prosecuting arms of the government, to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses and prosecute the same,” the poll body said.