WITH the elections over, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), with the help of the Department of Justice (DOJ), will now train its guns on candidates who violated election laws.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 10125, the commission en banc created a Special Task Force that will investigate and prosecute election offense cases.
The resolution mandates the poll body and all prosecuting officials “to give preference and priority to the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violations of election laws.”
The Special Task Force shall be tasked to assist the Comelec and the DOJ in the exercise of their concurrent powers to conduct preliminary investigation of election offenses punishable under existing election laws, and to prosecute the offenders.
It will be composed of five prosecutors as members in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) while two prosecutors in each province comprise the task force.
The preliminary investigation and prosecution of election law violations shall be governed by the Comelec Rules of Procedure while the DOJ Rules on Preliminary Investigation shall only be supplementary.
As for cases concerning gun ban violations, the commission said the Comelec-DOJ Special Task Force will receive from the Philippine National Police all documents and pieces of evidence in connection with the arrests that have been made.
Other common election offenses include vote-buying and vote-selling, maintenance of private armies, violation of the liquor ban, disruption of the election process and destruction of election paraphernalia.
The Omnibus Election Code provides that any person found guilty of any election offense shall be punished with one to six years’ imprisonment, disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.