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Congress urged: Amend 1985 election code

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is asking Congress to amend the 1985 Omnibus Election Code (OEC) and put in place updated provisions, rules, and regulations to address current election trends.

In an interview, Comelec chairman George Garcia said they are hoping that Congress will consider amending Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, which was passed back in 1985.

“We really envy the Bangsamoro because they now have this electoral code promulgated. As for us, our Omnibus Election Code was passed way back in 1985,” said Garcia, referring to the Bangsamoro Electoral Code (BEC), which was passed on March 2023.

“We are really appealing to our Congress. It is now time to finally revise the Omnibus Election Code, which is really very old,” he also said.

Like the BEC, Garcia said they also want the OEC to have a provision against turncoats and the 30 percent women representation requirement.

“We really applaud the Bangsamoro Parliament for having this kind of election code with unique provisions. Hopefully, in the near future, we will have similar provisions for the whole country,” Garcia said.

On May 12, 2025, the Comelec will be holding the first-ever elections for the Bangsamoro Parliament, with the Bangsamoro Electoral Code set to be implemented.

It will be held alongside the May 2025 national and local polls.

Garcia said that if the Bangsamoro elections succeeds, it will enhance the Comelec’s call on the need for a new OEC.

Meanwhile, Garcia said the poll body is looking at requiring national and local candidates to submit at least three to five updated pictures which they can use in their campaign materials for the May 2025 polls.

“We may require them (candidates) to file three to five pictures that they will use in their campaign materials. All pictures that will be used in their campaign materials that are outside those submitted pictures may be considered as illegal campaign materials,” he said.

The pictures, he said, “must be taken six months prior to the filing of Certificates of Candidacy, not those taken 20 years prior.”

“We don’t want to see pictures wherein candidates are still in college or were still very young. That’s not reflective of the truth. Through