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Bill bars grafters from holding public office

A measure that seeks to disqualify those who have been convicted of corruption from running for public office has been filed at the House of Representatives.

Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento

Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento authored House Bill (HB) 92 or an Act amending Sections 12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code in a bid to preserve “the sanctity of candidacy” for public office.

Sarmiento noted that many individuals have attempted to run for public office despite their conviction.

“When persons convicted of prior misconduct are allowed to run 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,” Sarmiento said in his explanatory note.

Under the measure, persons who appealed their conviction would be disqualified from running for public office “until such time the appeal reverses the conviction and acquits such person.”

Aside from grafters and plunderers, Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code will also instantly disqualify a potential candidate if he has been declared guilty of bribery and acts of terrorism.

Sarmiento also filed HB 3231 which seeks to amend Section 54, Chapter 8 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 by preventing the appointment of those who were declared by authority as “insane or incompetent” and those who were sentenced by final judgment for graft, corruption, subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or for any offense for which they were sentenced to a penalty of more than 18 months or for any crime involving moral turpitude.

Last month, Sarmiento cited the case of Samar Gov. Milagrosa Tan, who remained scot-free despite the affirmation of her conviction by the Sandiganbayan for eight counts of graft in 2001 over her involvement in the anomalous purchase of P16.1-million emergency supplies for the victims of Typhoon Kidang.

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