Comelec: Don't get involved in partisan politics

GOVERNMENT workers and barangay officials in Davao Region have been reminded anew that they are not allowed to engage in partisan politics.

The regional office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said those found violating this policy will face election offense.

Comelec-Davao assistant director Marlon Casquejo said a memo from the Comelec-Central Office and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) had been issued last month regarding this policy.

He said all government workers and barangay officials can express their opinions and who they will vote for, but they are not allowed to campaign for or against any candidate.

"With regards to barangay officials, once ma-deputize sila to teardown election materials like posters on the streets in partnership with the Comelec, di na sila dapat mo-campaign for or against any candidate," Casquejo said.

He said barangay officials can "like" reports and comment on the posts of the candidates on social media, but they cannot convince others to do the same.

"Once they have been deputized by the Comelec and they are still campaigning for or stating against a candidate, matagat nga naa silay conflict of interest, which we do not allow," he added.

Casquejo said barangay officials are also not allowed to join candidates' campaign sorties and they must not wear or distribute propaganda materials.

Only higher-level official, from city councilor up to the president, are exempt from this law, along with their staff and cabinet officials. They are allowed to express their support any candidate they want to.

According to section 2(4), article 9-B of the 1987 Constitution, “no officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political activity”.

The Omnibus Election Code (OEC) also said that any officer or worker in the civil service, except those holding political offices, engaged in any partisan political activity, except to vote, is committing an election offense.

Election offense carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to suffrage, and disqualification from holding public office.

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