As mentioned in the previous articles, there are several actions that may be filed by an aggrieved party against a candidate. These actions may be filed before elections, during elections and after elections. One must be sure, of course, that the ‘violating’ candidate is really committing or have committed acts that could be considered grounds for disqualification and that the aggrieved party is going to file a disqualification case not for harassment purposes but for justice, to the extent that the voters’ votes will not be invested into a disqualified candidate.
There are certain common acts, that many believe are just minor election offenses but they turn out, in fact, a ground for disqualification of a candidate. They are those mentioned in Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. One which is worth mentioning is when a person removes, destroys, or defaces a lawful election propaganda of another under Section 83 of the Omnibus Election Code. Many people actually do this but they are not aware that it is punishable as an election offense. The one who obliterates, removes or destroys, in any manner, the campaign materials of another that is lawfully placed, is presumed to act for the candidate whom he or she supports. Another is when a candidate overspends or when he or she spends in his or her election campaign more than that allowed by law. Sometimes, candidates take these acts for granted, no matter how small they are, they could turn out to be a danger to their campaign of becoming an elected public official.
There are also actions that could be filed before the elections against candidates who do not possess the required qualifications to run for public office. Most candidates affected by actions filed under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code are those that have problems with their residence, citizenship, non-possession a natural-born Filipino status, age, when they have been previously convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, not being a registered voter, or when they have violated the three-term limit.
Then we have the actions that can be filed after the winning candidates have been elected. The aggrieved party may choose to file an Election Protest, to determine who really won the elections. And any registered voter, not necessarily a losing candidate, may file a Petition for Quo Warranto against the winning candidate. The issue in a quo warranto case is whether or not the winning candidate possesses the qualifications of being an elected public servant.
All of these actions have one common goal, and that is—to drive out the candidate (who is likely to win) from the electoral race, before and during elections, and to oust the winning candidate when he or she wins in the elections.
This coming Friday the 13 th of August, at 9:00 o’clock in the morning, on our Election Day segment at the Regional News Group Luzon’s Balitaktakan, watch and find out, which action, we can suggest, based on the cases to be presented, is the most realistic and sure way to drive away and or oust ‘defective’ candidates. See you there.
*Any opinon/s or statement/s contained in this article are made by me as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.