Bets, supporters violating campaign rules face raps, jail terms- Año

Published February 13, 2022, 1:28 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government warned on Sunday, Feb. 13, that charges will be filed against erring political aspirants and their supporters who would be caught violating health protocols during the campaign period.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año maintained that campaign activity lawbreakers commit two infractions– first is the Omnibus Election Code for the political aspirants and the other applies to the supporters under Republic Act (RA) 11332. He said penalties of local ordinances will also be applied.

He stressed that political bets violating the Omnibus Election Code face jail terms of up to six years and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

In an interview over GMA News, Año noted that meetings, dialogues and coordination efforts are being implemented among political parties and aspirants to compel them and their supporters to adhere to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) health standards in the conduct of thei campaign activities.

“Hindi naman tayo mamimili na kasuhan ‘yung mga kadidato, sympathizers, supporters nila na kapag may paglabag” (We will not be biased in filing charges against the candidates, sympathizers or their supporters if they have any violations),’’ Año assured.

Due to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, aspirants are barred from conducting the traditional campaign interactions with the electorate like shaking hands of voters or engaging in any physical contact with the electorate during the campaign period.

Año also urged the political aspirants to observe Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution Number 10732 that calls for restrictions on in-person campaigning.

If the political candidates see any campaign violations, Año noted that these complaints may be coursed to the concerned officials who will investigate and determine if cases against the concerned parties should be filed.

“Ire-refer kaagad natin sa appropriate agency. Kapag violation ng Election Code, of course, that’s under now the Comelec. Pwede silang mabibigyan kung ide-disqualify na or kasuhan sa korte ‘yung kandidato (We will refer this to the appropriate agency. If it is a violation of the Election Code, of course that’s under Comelec. The candidates can be already disqualified or be charged in court),’’ Año warned.

He added that on the part of law enforcers, charges will automatically be filed for public health violation infractions.

The DILG chief also warned the terrorist groups never to demand for monetary support from the political candidates and vice versa.

Año stressed that charges will be filed against any political bets giving money to the rebel groups specifically warning the incumbent officials not to provide any form of support to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). (Chito A. Chavez)