A Bill Has Been Filed to Disqualify Convicted Persons From Running For Public Office

Here's hoping it actually gets passed.

(SPOT.ph) Elections in the Philippines can be pretty funny—so funny that sometimes it's painful. But one bill recently filed in the 18th Congress is finally taking it seriously: House Bill 92 seeks to immediately disqualify any person convicted of a crime from running for public service. Yes, even while said person currently has an appeal pending. 

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Wondering why this was deemed necessary?

"When persons convicted of prior misconduct are allowed to run [for office] pending appeal of their convictions, it allows said persons to be rid of accountabilities for their past transgressions both in and out of public office," said the bill's author, Samar Representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento, in a report by GMA News Online.

The bill seeks to amend two sections of the Omnibus Election Code: under the current Section 12, any person who committed a crime and was "sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty;" Section 68, meanwhile, also lists reasons for disqualification, but does not explicitly include prior convictions. 

Under the proposed measure, "any person convicted or sanctioned for any offense in any court, tribunal or body shall likewise be disqualified from being declared a candidate or, if elected, from holding public office pending appeal of such conviction or sanction," according to the report. 

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"There is a need to amend the Omnibus Election Code to ensure that the sanctity of candidacy for public office is protected and to avoid the consequences of allowing those already sentenced to be disqualified from still running for office," said Sarmiento. He added in his explanatory note to the bill, "A public office is a public trust."

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