State workers playing partisan politics face jail time: Comelec

THE COMMISSION on Elections warned government workers against openly supporting any political candidate in the 2016 elections.

Maysah Casar, Election Assistant II of First District, said there are laws that penalize plantilla government officials and employees who will campaign for any politician this coming election.

“Government employees cannot come out to support a particular candidate because they are not allowed to participate in partisan politics,” said Casar.

Based on the Sec. 2(4), Art. IX-B of the 1987 Constitution, “no officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political activity.”

However, appointed government officials are allowed to participate in partisan political activities since they are not covered by the legal ban.

The Omnibus Election Code (OEC) further states that any officer or employee in the civil service, except those holding political offices, who engages in any partisan political activity, except to vote, will be held liable for committing an election offense.

An election offense carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to suffrage, and disqualification from holding public office.

“So far, we haven’t received any report regarding government officials accused of electioneering,” she said.

Casar, meanwhile, said that the Comelec cannot stop early poll campaigning because of the Supreme Court’s SC’s decision on the Comelec vs. Penera case.

The decision states that elective aspirants can promote themselves before the scheduled campaign period since they are not yet considered candidates at that time.

Republic Act No. 9369 or “Election Automation Law” cites that a person who files his or her certificate of candidacy shall be considered a candidate only at the beginning of the campaign period or 90 days before the conduct of polls.

“Unlawful acts applicable to a candidate shall be in effect only upon the start of the campaign period,” cited the law.

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