Comelec pushes for money ban before election day

By Mayen Jaymalin, Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 03 2014 08:41 AM | Updated as of Mar 03 2014 04:41 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is pushing for the passage of a law imposing a money ban before Election Day to deter vote-buying.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body asked Congress to immediately pass a measure prohibiting “unjustifiable” withdrawal of certain sums of money or the actual possession of certain amounts of cash in the period immediately preceding Election Day.

The poll body issued Comelec Resolution No. 9688 in an attempt to impose a money ban during the May 2013 elections. The resolution tried to prohibit the withdrawal of over P100,000 per day and the transportation of more than P500,000 during the span of six days until Election Day.

But the Supreme Court (SC) stopped the implementation of the policy.

“It was declared unconstitutional (by SC) simply because of the absence of legislation. It can be cured simply by someone crafting legislation,” Jimenez noted.

Jimenez said that although the Comelec failed to implement a money ban before, the poll body still believes that such measure will effectively deter vote-buying and Congress can help revive the measure with the enactment of a law.

He also said the Comelec is willing to work with Congress on the crafting and enactment of a law implementing a money ban.

“We hope to bring it up for consideration so that the legislature can craft a law that will achieve the same thing, perhaps operate along the same line,“ the Comelec official said.

“The SC has already said that it needs a law. Being declared unconstitutional does not mean legislation cannot be passed for that,” he added.

The House of Representatives will also consider a Comelec proposal to require candidates in future elections to post bonds to discourage nuisance candidates.

“We will inquire into it, what the bond is for and how it would deter nuisance candidates,” Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday.

The Comelec is urging Congress to pass a law imposing the bond requirement. However, Comelec officials said they are leaving it up to lawmakers to determine the amount of bond that would discourage nuisance candidates from filing their certificates of candidacy.