MANILA -- An election watchdog on Monday supported the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to include a new question in the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) to be used in the May 2019 polls.
Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) executive director Ona Caritos opined that asking the question to aspirants, if they have had a history of receiving a perpetual disqualification penalty, is acceptable.
“For us, it is valid as this is just a question which expounds on the statement of the candidate in his COC as to his eligibility for the office he is running for,” she said in an interview.
Caritos is referring to the question #22 in the COC forms issued by the Comelec, which states: "Have you ever been found liable for an offense which carries with it the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office which has become final and executory?"
She believed that those who are seeking public office should answer the said question without hesitation.
“Bottom line is if a candidate is perpetually disqualified to hold public office, whether he answers yes or no to the question, has no bearing because he is disqualified,” Caritos said.
Earlier, former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. has expressed opposition to the additional question, noting that a candidate can unwittingly disqualify himself/herself by answering “yes” to the question as soon as he/she files his/her COC. (PNA)