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    Posted May 19, 2014 by

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    Phl to revive ban on early campaigns

    A Philippine lawmaker on Monday moved to reinstate the prohibition against early political campaigns and revive election offenses committed prior to the start of the campaign period.
    Filed by Rep. Joaquin M. Chipeco, Jr. of Laguna Province, House Bill 4105 prohibits electoral campaign or partisan political activities except during the campaign period and providing a penalty therefor.
    "Under the present state of our laws, there is no longer any prohibition against premature campaigning," Chipeco pointed out.
    The Laguna lawmaker recalled that premature campaigning has already been decriminalized in the 2009 case of Penera vs Comelec, et al, (G. R. No. 181613, Nov. 25, 2009, En Banc).
    Based on the Penera case, Chipeco explained that the rule now is that two facts must concur in order for a person or aspiring candidate to be liable to an election offense: first, he must have filed his certificate of candidacy; and second, the campaign period has commenced.
    "This means that a candidate in our (automated) elections could campaign much earlier than the start of the campaign period and not incur any criminal liability for premature campaigning under our election laws," Chipeco explained.
    The legal conundrum arising from such a jurisprudential rule is patently manifest - it effectively decriminalizes not just premature campaigning, but any and all election offenses committed prior to the campaign period as well, the author lamented.
    "Whether the majority of the Court realizes this grave implication from its ruling, it merely washes its hands by conveniently stating that the forum for examining the wisdom of the law, and enacting remedial measures, is not this Court but the Legislature," Chipeco pointed out.
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