Eligibility of candidates and disqualifications to run for public office

The Constitution, Omnibus  Election Code and  the Local Government Code  specify qualifications and disqualifications.  Know what  these are.

who can run

Qualifications for Philippine Elective Office:

Qualifications prescribed by law for public elective positions in the Philippines are continuing requirements and must be possessed for the duration of the officer’s active tenure. It is the Philippine Congress which has the power to prescribe additional qualifications and disqualifications.

The following is a simple list of the pertinent qualifications required for public elective positions in the Philippines:

Qualification for Philippine President and Vice-President:
1. natural born citizen of the Philippines
2. registered voter
3. able to read and write
4. at least 40 years of age on the day of election
5. resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election.

Qualifications for Philippine Senators:
1. natural born citizen of the Philippines
2. at least 35 years old on the day of the election
3. able to read and write
4. registered voter
5. resident of the Philippines for not less than 2 years immediately preceding the day of the election

Qualification for Philippine Congressmen (District Representative):
1. natural born citizen of the Philippines
2. on the day of the election at least 25 years old
3. able to read and write
4. registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected
5. resident thereof a period of not less than 1 year immediately preceding the day of the election.

Qualification for Philippine Party-List Representative (Sectoral representative):
1. natural born citizen of the Philippines
2. able to read and write
3. registered voter
4. resident of the Philippines for a period not less than 1 year immediately preceeding the day of the election
5. bona fide member of the sector he seeks to represent
6. on the day of the election is at least 25 years old BUT in case of youth sectoral representative, at least 25 years and not more than 30 years old at the day of the election

Qualifications for Philippine Local Officials:
1. citizen of the Philippines
2. on the day of election at least 23 years old for Governor, Vice-Governor, member of sangguniang panlalawigan, mayor, vice-mayor, sangguniang panglungsond in highly urbanized cities; while at least 21 years old for the said officials in component cities and municipalities; at least 18 years old for members of the sangguniang panglungsod, sangguniang bayan and sangguniang barangay and punong barangay; at least 15 years old and not more than 21 years of age for Sangguniang kabataan.
3. able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect
4. registered voter in the constituency in the locality
5. resident thereof for a period of not less than 1 year immediately preceding the day of the election

Meanwhile the Omnibus Election Code – Article IX, prescribes the ELIGIBILITY OF CANDIDATES and the CERTIFICATE OF CANDIDACY:

Sec. 63. Qualifications for President and Vice-President of the Philippines. – No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.

Sec. 64. Qualifications for Members of the Batasang Pambansa. – No person shall be elected Member of the Batasang Pambansa as provincial, city or district representative unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter in the constituency in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than six months immediately preceding the day of the election.

A sectoral representative shall be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, able to read and write, a resident of the Philippines, able to read and write, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election, a bona fide member of the sector he seeks to represent, and in the case of a representative of the agricultural or industrial labor sector, shall be a registered voter, and on the day of the election is at least twenty-five years of age.

The youth sectoral representative should at least be eighteen and not be more than twenty-five years of age on the day of the election: Provided, however, That any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of twenty-five years during his term shall be entitled to continue in office until the expiration of his term.

Sec. 65. Qualifications of elective local officials. The qualifications for elective provincial, city, municipal and barangay officials shall be those provided for in the Local Government Code.

Sec. 66. Candidates holding appointive office or positions. – Any person holding a public appointive office or position, including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and officers and employees in government-owned or controlled corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy.

Sec. 67. Candidates holding elective office. – Any elective official, whether national or local, running for any office other than the one which he is holding in a permanent capacity, except for President and Vice-President, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy.

Sec. 68. Disqualifications. – Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having

  1. given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions;
  2. committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy;
  3. spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code;
  4. solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or
  5. violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws.

Sec. 69. Nuisance candidates. – The Commission may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate.

Sec. 70. Guest candidacy. – A political party may nominate and/or support candidates not belonging to it.

Sec. 71. Changing political party affiliation. – An elective official may change his party affiliation for purposes of the election next following his change of party within one year prior to such election.

Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. – The Commission and the courts shall give priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation of this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not later than seven days before the election in which the disqualification is sought.

Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding sections shall not prevent his proclamation and assumption to office.

Sec. 73. Certificate of candidacy. – No person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files a sworn certificate of candidacy within the period fixed herein.

A person who has filed a certificate of candidacy may, prior to the election, withdraw the same by submitting to the office concerned a written declaration under oath.

No person shall be eligible for more than one office to be filled in the same election, and if he files his certificate of candidacy for more than one office, he shall not be eligible for any of them. However, before the expiration of the period for the filing of certificates of candidacy, the person who was filed more than one certificate of candidacy may declare under oath the office for which he desires to be eligible and cancel the certificate of candidacy for the other office or offices.

The filing or withdrawal of a certificate of candidacy shall not affect whatever civil, criminal or administrative liabilities which a candidate may have incurred.

Sec. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. – The certificate of candidacy shall state that the person filing it is announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for said office; if for Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the province, including its component cities, highly urbanized city or district or sector which he seeks to represent; the political party to which he belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office address for all election purposes; his profession or occupation; that he will support and defend the Constitution of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that he will obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country; that the obligation imposed by his oath is assumed voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that the facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true to the best of his knowledge.

Unless a candidate has officially changed his name through a court approved proceeding, a certificate shall use in a certificate of candidacy the name by which he has been baptized, or if has not been baptized in any church or religion, the name registered in the office of the local civil registrar or any other name allowed under the provisions of existing law or, in the case of a Muslim, his Hadji name after performing the prescribed religious pilgrimage: Provided, That when there are two or more candidates for an office with the same name and surname, each candidate, upon being made aware or such fact, shall state his paternal and maternal surname, except the incumbent who may continue to use the name and surname stated in his certificate of candidacy when he was elected. He may also include one nickname or stage name by which he is generally or popularly known in the locality.

The person filing a certificate of candidacy shall also affix his latest photograph, passport size; a statement in duplicate containing his bio-data and program of government not exceeding one hundred words, if he so desires.

Sec. 75. Filing and distribution of certificate of candidacy. – The certificate of candidacy shall be filed on any day from the commencement of the election period but not later than the day before the beginning of the campaign period: Provided, That in cases of postponement or failure of election under Sections 5 and 6 hereof, no additional certificate of candidacy shall be accepted except in cases of substitution of candidates as provided under Section 77 hereof.

The certificates of candidacy for President and Vice-President of the Philippines shall be filed in ten legible copies with the Commission which shall order the printing of copies thereof for distribution to all polling places. The certificates of candidacy for the other offices shall be filed in duplicate with the offices herein below mentioned, together with a number of clearly legible copies equal to twice the number of polling places in the province, city, district, municipality or barangay, as the case may be:

  1. For representative in the Batasang Pambansa, with the Commission, the provincial election supervisor, city election registrar in case of highly urbanized cities, or an officer designated by the Commission having jurisdiction over the province, city or representative district who shall send copies thereof to all polling places in the province, city or district;
  2. For provincial offices, with the provincial election supervisor of the province concerned who shall send copies thereof to all polling places in the province;
  3. For city and municipal offices, with the city or municipal election registrar who shall send copies thereof to all polling places in the city or municipality; and
  4. For punong barangay or kagawad ng sangguniang barangay, the certificates of candidacy shall be filed in accordance with the provisions of Section 39 of Article VI of this Code.

The duly authorized receiving officer shall immediately send the original copy of all certificates of candidacy received by him to the Commission.

Sec. 76. Ministerial duty of receiving and acknowledging receipt. – The Commission, provincial election supervisor, election registrar or officer designated by the Commission or the board of election inspectors under the succeeding section shall have the ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge receipt of the certificate of candidacy.

Sec. 77. Candidates in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal of another. – If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified. The substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later than mid-day of the day of the election. If the death, withdrawal or disqualification should occur between the day before the election and mid-day of election day, said certificate may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted for by the entire electorate of the country, with the Commission.

Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. – A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by the person exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election.

On the other hand, the Local Government Code (LGC) described the qualifications and disqualifications from running for local elective positions:

The Republic Act No. 7160, Title II – Elective Officials, Chapter I – Qualifications and Election, states that:

Section 39. Qualifications. –

(a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect.

(b) Candidates for the position of governor, vice-governor, or member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, or mayor, vice-mayor or member of the sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age on election day.

(c) Candidates for the position of mayor or vice-mayor of independent component cities, component cities, or municipalities must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age on election day.

(d) Candidates for the position of member of the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan must be at least eighteen (18) years of age on election day.

(e) Candidates for the position of punong barangay or member of the sangguniang barangay must be at least eighteen (18) years of age on election day.

(f) Candidates for the sangguniang kabataan must be at least fifteen (15) years of age but not more than twenty-one (21) years of age on election day.

Section 40. Disqualifications. – The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective local position:

(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence;

(b) Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case;

(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic;

(d) Those with dual citizenship;

(e) Fugitives from justice in criminal or non-political cases here or abroad;

(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and continue to avail of the same right after the effectivity of this Code; and

(g) The insane or feeble-minded.

Section 41. Manner of Election. –

(a) The governor, vice-governor, city mayor, city vice-mayor, municipal mayor, municipal vice-mayor, and punong barangay shall be elected at large in their respective units by the qualified voters therein. However, the sangguniang kabataan chairman for each barangay shall be elected by the registered voters of the katipunan ng kabataan, as provided in this Code.

(b) The regular members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, and sangguniang bayan shall be elected by district, as may be provided for by law. Sangguniang barangay members shall be elected at large. The presidents of the leagues of sanggunian members of component cities and municipalities shall serve as ex officio members of the sangguniang panlalawigan concerned. The presidents of the “liga ng mga barangay and the pederasyon ng mga sangguniang kabataan” elected by their respective chapters, as provided in this Code, shall serve as ex officio members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, and sangguniang bayan.

(c) In addition thereto, there shall be one (1) sectoral representative from the women, one (1) from the workers, and one (1) from any of the following sectors: the urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, disabled persons, or any other sector as may be determined by the sanggunian concerned within ninety (90) days prior to the holding of the next local elections as may be provided for by law. The COMELEC shall promulgate the rules and regulations to effectively provide for the election of such sectoral representatives.

Section 42. Date of Election. – Unless otherwise provided by law, the elections for local officials shall be held every three (3) years on the second Monday of May.

Section 43. Term of Office. –

(a) The term of office of all local elective officials elected after the effectivity of this Code shall be three (3) years, starting from noon of June 30, 1992 or such date as may be provided for by law, except that of elective barangay officials: Provided, That all local officials first elected during the local elections immediately following the ratification of the 1987 Constitution shall serve until noon of June 30, 1992.

(b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned was elected.

(c) The term of office of barangay officials and members of the sangguniang kabataan shall be for three (3) years, which shall begin after the regular election of barangay officials on the second Monday of May 1994.

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