Lex Fori Philippines

Law, lawyering and everything in between.

  • Pages

  • Subscribe

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 129 other followers


    Any opinion, information or remark made on this site, including any response to queries or comments posted, should not be regarded as a complete and authoritative statement of the law. There is no warranty as to the completeness or accuracy of the information and the authors will not be liable for any loss or damage relating to the use or reliance thereon. A grain of salt is recommended. No recipient of any information or content from this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information or content. Consult your favorite legal representative. Use of this website does not and will not create any legal relationship between the authors and the receiver/user/reader and any lawyer-client privilege will not apply.

Is Premature Campaigning Still an Election Offense? The Case of Penera vs. COMELEC (G.R. No. 181613; 25 November 2009)

Posted by lexforiphilippines on January 29, 2010

In Penera vs. COMELEC (G.R. 181613; 25 November 2009), the Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision (dated 11 September 2009) to disqualify a candidate (Penera) for premature campaigning. According to the High Court, at the time the supposed premature campaigning took place, Penera was not officially a “candidate” albeit she already filed her certificate of candidacy. Under Section 15 of Republic Act 8436, as amended by Republic Act 9369, a person who files his certificate of candidacy is considered a candidate only at the start of the campaign period, and unlawful acts applicable to such candidate take effect only at the start of such campaign period. Construing this law, the Supreme Court concluded that a candidate is liable for an election offense only for acts done during the campaign period, not before. Before the start of the campaign period, such election offenses cannot be committed and any partisan political activity is lawful. (For a comprehensive digest of the case, please click Digested Cases under Tools.)

Frankly and with due respect to the Court, I do not agree with the decision as it practically makes “premature campaigning” impossible to commit. No candidate will ever be held liable for premature campaigning even though this act is still prohibited under our present state of laws. Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code, which prohibits this act, has not been repealed and remains good law.

The essence of premature campaigning is that the promotion/campaign is done outside the campaign period. It does not matter when a person officially becomes a candidate. If he promoted himself for election purposes before the campaign period, he should be disqualified if he pursues his candidacy. Otherwise, the very purpose of the proscription against premature campaigning will be defeated. Indeed, how can we say that the playing field among candidates has been leveled and that we can expect fair elections, when candidates will be allowed to promote themselves in advance and with impunity.

Besides, as observed by the Supreme Court in its earlier (11 September 2009) ruling, the prohibition against premature campaigning, under Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code, applies to any person, whether a voter or a candidate. This only underscores that one does not have to be officially a candidate at the time of the alleged premature campaigning to be liable for an election offense.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: