Politicians caution about partisan politics

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

COMMISSION on Elections regional director Noli Pipo warned politicians and political parties, especially those holding incumbent positions, to refrain from giving out gifts and giveaways during the 45 days election period.

Pipo said that government programs such as the city’s people to people program should not be conducted during the 45 days election period as the strategy is prohibited during election.

“It is a violation of the omnibus election code and a ground for disqualification from election,” Pipo said.


Pipo also said that even the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) has suspended its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) on March 27, 2013 in observance of the election period.

Known locally as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the CCT is a government program which aims to assuage problems of poverty in the country.

Pipo said that the Comelec has no standing authority to conduct preliminary investigation unless there is a complainant of violation observed. “Any registered voter can file a case on violation, and then the Comelec will act on the complaint,” Pipo added.

The Comelec even has no right to give exception to local government units (LGUs) to distribute food packs even in time of calamity, Pipo said.

Pipo also warned politicians employing casual government employees for partisan political activities as this also constitutes as a ground for disqualification.

Based on the Omnibus Election Code, the employment of government employee, except those of the political office such as administrators, staffs of politicians, is a ground for disqualification.

“They can employ their staff, the provincial, municipal administrator, their political appointees in political activities, but not government employees,” Pipo said.

Department of Interior and Local Government-Northern Mindanao chief Rene Burdeos warned all barangay officials, staff and workers against engaging in partisan political activity in light of the upcoming May 2013 elections.

In an unnumbered memo sent to all barangay offices across Northern Mindanao, Burdeos cited the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160), which states “No local officials or employee in the career service shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity or to take part in any election, ...except to vote...”

Pipo said that applications of political parties to use government facilities such as covered courts to conduct campaign activities should be approved without political consideration.

Pipo said that the only ground for refusal of the permit to campaign and use of public facilities is when there is a prior application to use such facilities on the same date and time, adding that “if it is not approved, the applying party can appeal to the city and provincial Comelec office, which must act on the appeal in two days to compel the barangay and municipal government on the use of the facility.” (With reports from Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 11, 2013.

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