Nuisance Candidates Must Be Fined, Says Senator

The vote is no laughing matter.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday called for the passage of a law that will fine personalities declared by the Commission on Elections as "nuisance candidates" as he stressed the need to safeguard the electoral process.

Gatchalian, who is running for reelection in the 2022 polls, has filed Senate Bill 726 seeking to amend the Omnibus Election Code and fine any person who was found to have put the election process in mockery or disrepute with P50,000.

"Isang pribilehiyo ang makapaglingkod sa bayan kaya't dapat na siniseryoso ito ng sinuman na gustong magserbisyo sa publiko dahil kaakibat nito ang pagsusulong sa kapakanan ng taong bayan at pag-iingat sa kaban ng bayan," he said.

"Hindi kailanman katanggap-tanggap ang mga gawain na ang intensyon ay halata namang makapanlito lamang o gawing katawa-tawa ang eleksyon," he added.

Gatchalian cited several personalities who risk being declared nuisance candidates by the Comelec, including presidential aspirants Daniel Magtira who claimed to be the husband of Kris Aquino and Laurencio Yulaga who claimed electrocution could cure COVID-19.

While these candidates may have achieved their goal of gaining 15 minutes of fame, Gatchalian said they should be made liable for their actions.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, candidates may be declared "nuisance" if their candidacy was filed only to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or their intention to run for office could cause confusion among voters because of the similarity of their names to other registered candidates.

Laurencio Yulaga, who filed for candidacy as president, claimed electrocution can cure COVID-19.

Photo by Jerome Ascano.

Candidates may also be considered a "nuisance" if the Comelec determined that they have no "bona fide" intention in running for public office.

Gatchalian's bill seeks to insert a new provision that declares a candidate "nuisance" if the candidacy is filed "to obtain money, profit, or any other consideration."

While Gatchalian's measure remains pending at the committee level, its counterpart in the House of Representatives was approved on the third and final reading last August.

This story originally appeared on Reportr.World. Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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