Disqualification (DQ) of candidates involved in drugs, corruption requires DILG’s ‘actionable request’ –– poll body.
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is ready to act on the proposal of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Eduardo Año to “disqualify” at least 600 candidates in next year’s midterm polls involved in corruption and illegal drugs.
In a talk with this writer, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez however qualified the proposal should be an “actionable request” in the form of a petition for disqualification subject to the rules established under the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).
“If any of those people want to file their certificate of candidacy, the big question is, what does the DILG want us to do? Deny, reject their application? Reject their COCs?
“That might prove difficult. Under the law, we (Comelec) have to accept all COCs,” Jimenez said, adding there are “criteria” under the OEC that need to be followed before any candidate can be disqualified.
Jimenez made the clarification after Año last week said they would be seeking the poll body’s help in disqualifying local officials accused of involvement in illegal drugs and corrupt practices.
Año, the bemedaled and highly-respected former Armed Forces chief of staff, made the announcement as part of his effort to support the government’s war against illegal drugs while combating corruption down to the local level.
Many of these candidates are included in the government’s so-called “Narco List” while those accused of corruption were the subject of complaints under the “8888 hotline” ordered put up by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte at the start of his term.
Earlier, Año was also quoted as saying he would seek the Comelec’s help in disqualifying local officials believed responsible for the environmental destruction of the island of Boracay.
Jimenez said “actionable request” from the DILG should stipulate what precisely the department wants the poll body to do, with its arguments anchored on what is provided for under the OEC.
“They (DILG) should study that (OEC). They should look if these people (candidates) have ‘disqualifying characteristics’ under the law (then), the task of disqualifying would be easy.”
Jimenez also stressed “under no circumstances” can the poll body reject any COC.
“We can only rule on a disqualification, which means there must be a petition (for disqualification),” Jimenez said.
On this Jimenez said the DILG can act as a petitioner against those candidates it wants to be excluded from joining next year’s polls.