Cleaning up after themselves
Before the week is over and the winners and losers of this week’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections finished whooping it up or crying themselves to sleep or near their beer bottles (whichever is their choice of coping mechanism) we hope both of them fulfill two most important things.
First off and it’s a legal obligation on their part, that they submit their statement of election contributions and expenditures or SECE on or before June 12, two weeks before they assume office.
Under the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law or Republic Act 7166 both winners and losing candidates are required to submit their SECEs on the prescribed date lest they be penalized.
For the winners it would mean being prohibited from assuming office and being fined anywhere from P1,000 to P30,000 depending on the discretion of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
A third offense can result in permanent disqualification from running for public office.
The law also places limits on election expenditures and penalties for exceeding such limits include being unseated from office as in the case of former Laguna Governor ER Ejercito in May 27, 2014.
There are reports and photos of massive vote-buying by candidates and while the Comelec is mandated to investigate and penalize the violators, one has better hope of seeing paint dry on walls than seeing them being penalized.
Another thing we hope winners and losing candidates will do is to clean up their garbage aka campaign materials that they posted on both designated and non-designated areas as a show of commitment not only to the environment but also as a symbolic token of their pledge for literal clean elections.
Even with social media at their beck and call for expanding their campaign, local candidates still need to continually remind their audience of their candidacies through campaign posters and what not in order to sear their names into their minds ahead of election day.
And it’s the trees and the citizens who are subjected to the constant bombardment and the vandalizing of their walls by the candidates who should along with their followers be obligated to clean up their mess and not let the local government clean up after them.
There are laws obligating them as such and it is a shared responsibility for all candidates regardless of whether they won or not.
The winners especially should do their share not only in submitting their SECEs on time but also to clean up their election propaganda to set an example to his or her followers as well as show to those who didn’t vote for him/her that they are committed to following the law they will be sworn to uphold.
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