Civil service workers warned vs campaigning for May poll candidates

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2019 04:54 PM

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Dante Jimenez warns agencies under direct control and supervision of the President against using government resources for partisan political activities for the May midterm elections, Feb. 14, 2019. Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-corruption body on Thursday promised to go hard on civil service employees campaigning for candidates in the May midterm elections.

Dante Jimenez, chairman of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), said his group would “spare no one,” who would use government resources for their partisan political activities.

“Delikado ka, baby,” he said of agency heads who would allow, for instance, office supplies to be used to promote certain candidates.

The constitution bars civil service officers and employees from engaging, “directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign.”

Violators may be suspended or dismissed from office.

Members of the armed forces are also prohibited from participating in “any political activity, except to vote.”

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS

While promising to “give meaning” to the constitutional restrictions, the PACC was also confronted with the challenge of going after administration candidates, who might also take advantage of government resources for their campaign.

The president, vice president, and Cabinet members, including their personal and confidential staff, are not covered by the ban against electioneering or partisan political activities.

But they should not “solicit contributions from their subordinates or subject them to any of the acts” prohibited under the Omnibus Election Code.

“Wala kaming sasantuhin,” Jimenez said, insisting all candidates “must understand their responsibilities” during the campaign. 

PACC executive director Eduardo Bringas urged the public to report violations to the anti-corruption group.

But James Jimenez, spokesman of the Commission on Elections, sought to “manage expectations,” saying complaints filed won’t lead to “instant results.”

“We follow due process,” he told reporters, saying the Comelec and the PACC would coordinate to ensure actual cases would be filed.

“We are inviting the public to please be forthcoming with their reports.