MANILA - An election lawyer warned political parties today that premature conventions are prohibited.
In a press statement, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said: “Political parties planning to hold activities aimed at launching or naming their nominees or probable candidates in the 2016 polls should first review the provisions of the law on premature political conventions.”
He said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) does not even know yet what mode it will be using in 2016.
He said if the country utilizes a hybrid or with manual voting, conventions can only be held within 30 days before the start of the campaign period for the local elections and 45 days for the presidential elections.
If automated, the convention can only be held within 30 days before the filing of certificates of candidacy, he said.
“Any violation of the law is an election offense penalized by 1-6 years imprisonment and disqualification from holding public office. Thus, it would be better for political parties to wait for Comelec's calendar of activities before they plan or hold such convention which their political rivals could brand as premature political convention,” Macalintal said.
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said it will have a “re-launching” on July 1 as a dominant opposition party.
UNA is led by Vice President Jejomar Binay, who bolted the Cabinet last week.
There, he is expected to criticize anew the Aquino administration while offering promises for a new administration in 2016.