- Election Periods
- Election Protests
- Petition Filing for Candidacy
- Represents the Public Servant Applicant
Election Laws in the Philippines
Elections in the Philippines have always been very competitive and dynamic, and Philippine election laws are widely believed to have many gray areas. Given this, it is in the candidates’ and parties’ best interest to have the guidance of an experienced election lawyer from the start to the end of the process – and, often, even beyond.
Our lawyers at Duran & Duran-Schulze Attorneys have the knowledge and experience that aspiring and incumbent public servants need. They will help ensure their clients’ rights are upheld and mistakes that could negatively affect their campaigns are avoided.
The areas in which our lawyers can help clients include:
- Determining eligibility for candidacy
- Filing of candidacy
- Guidance on campaign funds
- Adherence to campaign periods and other campaign laws
- Guidance on poll watching and canvassing
- Guidance and representation in cases of election protests and quo warranto proceedings
Eligibility for Candidacy
Each public office has specific candidacy requirements for various categories including:
- citizenship (Filipino or natural-born Filipino)
- residency in the country and/or the local area they want to serve
- ability to read and write
Filing of Candidacy
The rules for filing of candidacy may vary according to the office the applicant wants to run for. All candidates, whether for local or national positions, need to accomplish the COC (certificate of candidacy) and file it at designated offices.
There is a cap on how much candidates can spend for their campaigns. The allowed amount is based on the number of registered voters for the contested position.
- Campaign contribution sources are also restricted. Certain entities, such as financial institutions and public utility providers, are disallowed from contributing to any candidate’s campaign.
- Activities like lotteries and cockfights for fundraising purposes are also not allowed.
- Candidates may not give donations and gifts to anyone during the campaign period. Exemptions are church collections and similar religious contributions.
- Candidates may spend their campaign funds only for allowed promotional and administrative expenses.
- Candidates are required to file a full statement of contributions and expenses within 30 days after the election.
Poll Watch, Counting and Canvassing of Votes
The automation of Philippine elections is presenting new challenges to everyone concerned, including the candidates. As a result, it is critical to provide candidates’ poll watchers with sufficient training on the new procedures and their potential complications.
It is also important for poll watchers to understand their rights and responsibilities, and avoid violating any prohibitions. At the same time, they must be knowledgeable enough to spot and identify potential issues and problems.
The counting and canvassing of votes under the Automated Elections Systems (AES) will also be done electronically. To make sure they go into battle well-prepared, so to speak, candidates and their staff should exert every effort to get thoroughly acquainted with these automated systems.
Post Election Issues
Unfortunately, post election issues are common in the Philippines and the AES may just present new grounds for election result protests or even quo warranto incidents.
All candidates must be vigilant and protective of their rights. Election lawyers can provide their clients with the legal guidance they will need in upholding these rights, and be their clients’ advocates in any legal or public proceeding.