Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, in filing his House Bill 91 two years ago, hopes that Congress could amend the Omnibus Election Code in time for the 2022 presidential elections. Sarmiento has also filed House Bill 92 that would disqualify people convicted of corruption from holding public office, even while an appeal is still pending.
Meanwhile, more than a year ahead of the 2022 polls, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has pushed anew for a tax exemption on the honoraria, travel allowance and other benefits granted to poll workers, especially the teachers, officials and personnel of the Department of Education.
Senate Bill 1193, which Gatchalian filed in 2019, seeks to further amend Section 32 of Republic Act 8424 or the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, so that poll workers could receive the full amount of their honoraria, travel allowance and other benefits.
The proposed measure also seeks to exclude poll workers’ honoraria and allowances from the gross income. A five percent tax is currently imposed on the poll workers’ election honoraria.
Sarmiento says the use of nuisance candidates has become a practice by some unscrupulous politicians as part of their ploy to undermine their political rivals. One prevalent modus is to field candidates with full names or surnames that are identical to those of their rivals.
Nuisance candidates are defined under the Omnibus election Code as people who file a CoC “ to put 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 by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office.”
Sarmiento says while Article 69 of the Omnibus Election Code or the Batas Pambansa 881 gives the Commission on Election the authority to cancel or refuse the CoC of one who is deemed a nuisance candidate, there is nothing in the law that stops them from repeatedly filing or causing the filing of their CoCs.
While nuisance candidates in the national elections are largely purged by the Comelec, he says, there are still some who are obviously electoral nuisances who have succeeded in filing their CoCs.
“There is a reasonable need to employ more measure to deter the practice of indiscriminately filing a certificate of candidacy just to mock the election or to attempt to shave off the votes of certain candidates,” Sarmiento, chair of the House committee on transportation, said.
“As a deterrent to such practice, a penalty heavier than mere refusal of due course or cancellation of a CoC must be imposed upon those who maliciously file or cause the filing of the same.”
Sarmiento says Article 69 of BP 881 must be amended to include a provision that states “The Commission, upon notice and hearing, may also impose the penalty of a fine not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos on the person who filed such certificate upon proof of malice or gross bad faith.
“Any person named in the verified petition and found to have been in conspiracy with or have induced the person who filed such certificate shall also be made to pay the fine of not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos,” the proposed amendment also says.
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