MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Friday the ban on government officials and personnel engaging in partisan political activities is only for regular state workers.
Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista explained that political appointees of the Aquino administration are exempted from the ban on campaigning for candidates in the coming May elections.
“If you are a civil service employee, you are not allowed to engage in partisan political activities. But if you are a political appointee, you are not barred from doing so,” he said.
The poll body chief added that elected officials are not prohibited from engaging in campaign activities.
“The President himself is not prohibited. Cabinet members are not barred because they are appointed officials,” Bautista added.
On Thursday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte expressed concern over the ban on committing acts of election campaigning or partisan political activities among government officials.
Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10049, “Personal opinions, views, and preferences for candidates, contained in blogs and micro-blogs, shall not be considered as acts of election campaigning or partisan political activity unless expressed by government officials in the Executive Department, the Legislative Department, the Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and members of the Civil Service.”
Violation of the said provision will constitute an election offense, which carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification from holding public office.
Bautista said that they are looking to issue a clarification on the said provision of their Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Fair Elections Act for the May 2016 polls. PNA/northboundasia.com