Saturday , May 26, 2018

Comelec to Congress: Amend outdated Omnibus Election Code

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be asking lawmakers to amend the over three decades old Omnibus Election Code (OEC).

“We are hoping that, by the first quarter of 2017, we can already pass (our draft amendments),” said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista.

He believes that it is high time that changes be made in the 31-year-old Batas Pambansa 881.

“I really want to have a new OEC because the BP 881 comes from circa 1985. At that time, we only have manual system in mind and the number of voters was only at 30 million. It is really that outdated,” the poll body chief said.

“This time, we want to make sure that the OEC is relevant to the society. We must make use of the available technology and other modern day conveniences to help our voters. We must make the voting system easier,” he added.

Bautista is also pushing for the amendment in the campaign spending limit to make it more relevant to the present.

“That is a tricky issue but we have already said in the past that we really need to adjust the spending limit,” he said.

Under the law, candidates for president and vice president are allowed to spend P10 for every registered voter in the country and overseas; while candidates for other positions can spend P3 for every voter currently registered in the constituency where they are running.

Independent candidates, meanwhile, can spend P5 for every voter currently registered in the area where they are running; while political parties and party-list groups are also allowed to spend P5 for every voter.

With this, he revealed that a draft OEC amendments has been prepared based on a study conducted by a team they have formed.

“There is already the draft but we still need to ratify them. I think we should copy international best practices. But we also have to make sure that they are adaptable to Philippine setting,” he said.

The team was created after the Senate and House committees on electoral reform and suffrage asked the poll body to submit its recommendations on how to best revise the OEC. (FP/Sunnex)