In addition to the existing election laws by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled an arrangement to pair up with its fellow government entity as overseers of participating political figures and private institutions in the upcoming presidential polls in 2016.
On Monday, Comelec Chair Andrew Garcia and SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbosa signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) as “information-sharing partners” in reinforcing the effectivity of the Comelec’s provisions with respect to the Corporation Code of the Philippines.
This is a first for both parties to join forces as watchdogs against illegal activities between political candidates and private corporations prior to Election Day.
Among the provisions under the arrangement is the prohibition of the involvement of businessmen in campaign activities of political candidates and parties, which the Corporation Code strictly forbids in Section 36(9): “no corporation, domestic or foreign, shall give donations in aid of any political party or candidate or for purposes of partisan political activity”.
Another is the government firms’ primary responsibility of sharing information in paving the way towards a clean and fair election, in which the Comelec will provide the SEC with information on corporations and other SEC-registered entity that have engaged in partisan political activities – that SEC claims as a signal for them to investigate.
With a collective record of corporations under its mandate, the SEC, on the other hand, has committed itself in furnishing the Comelec with the names of SEC-registered entities who have been legally permitted primary or secondary franchisees or licenses in checking if any violation was rendered in the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).
The OEC, in Section 95, also prohibits the involvement of public and private institutions by making contributions or funds in campaign activities of political candidates and parties, and that any person found guilty of this offense shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation.
Furthermore, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage. If he is a foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which shall be enforced after the prison term has been served.
The arrangement is expected to take effect in time for the upcoming 2016 elections.