Mar Roxas is quite busy these days traveling from one island to another to meet and greet the public. In the aftermath of typhoon Lando, he was seen distributing relief goods to typhoon victims with photographers in tow.
Last Friday, Roxas traveled to Loreto Agusan del Sur to console the wife of the slain Mayor of Loreto. In what capacity since he already resigned from his cabinet post? That we don’t know. One thing is certain, he is now a private citizen aspiring to become the next President of the Philippines.
Talking about the election, unfortunately Mar Roxas cannot be disqualified on the basis of early campaigning according to the Omnibus Election Code.
This is based on the Supreme Court ruling in 2009 that states:
any unlawful act or omission applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period.” A candidate, therefore, is liable only for an election offense committed during the campaign period, not before. In other words, no one can be penalized for “premature campaigning.
Between now and the start of the campaign period which starts on February 2016, the Comelec cannot go after Mar Roxas and all other aspirants committing all sorts of campaign violations with impunity even if there is an admission of the violation.
Paging COMELEC Officials. This is already grounds for disqualification as Official campaign period has yet to start but Mar Roxas himself already admitted that they only take a break from their campaign..
Posted by The Pandora's Box on Thursday, October 22, 2015
Meanwhile, how about government resources being used by a candidate doing early campaign sorties if the picture is indeed accurate? Who is answerable for this? Is there a law that prohibits private citizens using government chopper? I did not see any. However, public officials are covered by a law. Please refer below.
According to Administrative Order No. 239, s. 2008 signed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the use of government vehicles are prohibited for purposes other than official business.
SECTION 1. All government agencies and offices are prohibited from using government vehicles for purposes other than official business: Provided, That in every case, the trip ticket authorizing the use of the vehicle shall be displayed on the windshield or in another conspicuous place on the vehicle: Provided, further, That vehicles used by intelligence and investigative agencies of the government shall not be covered by the foregoing proviso.
The use of government vehicles on Sundays, legal holidays, or out of the regular office hours or outside the route of the officials or employees authorized to use them, or by any person other than such officials or employees, shall unless properly authorized, be prima facie evidence of violation of this Section in the administrative proceeding against the officials or employees responsible of such violation.
All government agencies and offices shall limit the use of government vehicles to essential activities and shall review their travel program and schedules to minimize unnecessary trips.
SECTION 2. The use of government vehicles for private social functions such as receptions, balls, theatres, and for other personal purposes is absolutely prohibited. Likewise, use thereof by the spouses, children, relatives, friends, and the like of the officials entitled thereto, even if they are in the company of said officials, is strictly prohibited.
SECTION 3. The use of government vehicles by bureaus and offices shall be authorized only through the issuance for each trip of a serially numbered ticket, duly signed by an authorized official. These motor vehicles shall be used strictly for official business, bear government plates only, and after office hours or during weekends and holidays kept in a garage designated/provided therefor by the bureau or office to avoid their unauthorized use.
During weekends and holidays, the guard on duty shall keep the keys. If the vehicles are spotted elsewhere during said days, the guard shall be held liable along with those caught using the vehicle in accordance with the service contract entered into by the Government and security agency concerned.
SECTION 4. The public is hereby encouraged to report any unofficial use of government vehicles to the Presidential Action Center.
The AO signed by former PGMA is applicable to incumbents and private citizens like Roxas is not directly covered. Please enlighten non-lawyers like this blogger on such matter. Otherwise, this is what Comelec Chairman Bautista has to say,
I encouraged the public to be vigilant and report incidence that may appear to violate fair election practices – that includes the use of government resources by incumbent officials who are running for certain government posts.
The only recourse the voting public can do is to punish the election violators in the ballot.
What can you suggests to prevent premature campaigning of candidates in the future?
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