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DILG reminds its officers and employees to observe political neutrality

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 20, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte    The Department of Interior and Local Government issued a memorandum reminding its officials and employees to observe political neutrality and to avoid partisan political activities designed to promote the election or defeat of any candidate in the forthcoming May elections.

In his memorandum which also covers the personnel of the Philippine National Police, Secretary Ronaldo Puno warned the officials and employees of DILG to refrain from any partisan activity in the run-up to the May polls except to vote on the day of the election.

With the start of the campaign period, all employees and officials of the Department should keep in mind that they must refrain from getting involved in any election-related activity, lest they be found liable for violations of the Omnibus Election Code and the rules and regulations imposed by the Commission on Elections to carry out the Fair Elections Act in relation to the May 14 elections, Secretary Puno said.

Any DILG official or employee found to have engaged in political activities during the election period could be held liable for election offenses under Batas Pambansa 881 or the Omnibus Election Code, Secretary Puno said.

Under BP 881, election offenses are punishable by imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years without probation. Those found guilty of election offenses will be disqualified to hold public office and will lose their right to vote.

Secretary Puno explained that prohibited partisan politics include: forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign for or against a candidate; holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate; making speeches, announcements or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate for public office; publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate; and directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges, or support for or against any candidate.