The Department of Education (DepEd) has issued a reminder to all its officials, teaching, and non-teaching personnel regarding the constitutional prohibition on engaging in electioneering and partisan political activity. The reminder emphasizes that no officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign, as stated in the 1987 Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, and the Administrative Code of 1987.
An advisory issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) further reiterates the purpose of the prohibition, which is to ensure that government workers remain focused on their duties, eliminate the spoils system, and protect public servants from the unpredictability of politics. The advisory includes a detailed list of activities considered as partisan political activities, such as organizing groups for soliciting votes, holding political meetings, making speeches, distributing campaign materials, and using government resources for political purposes.
All DepEd officials, including third-level officials, teaching, and non-teaching personnel, are strictly prohibited from engaging in electioneering or partisan political activity, except for specific exclusions stated in the attached CSC Resolution. Furthermore, DepEd officials are prohibited from using their positions to influence their subordinates in supporting any particular candidate or political party. Violations of these prohibitions will be dealt with in accordance with the applicable rules and procedures, including the DepEd Order No. 49, s. of 2006, the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, and the Omnibus Election Code.
An advisory on Electioneering and Partisan Political Activity issued through Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution No. 1600298 dated March 29, 2016 reiterates that the prohibition aims to ensure that government workers will remain focused on the affairs of the government, to do away with the spoils system, and to shield public servants from the vagaries of politics. Enclosed is a copy of the said CSC Resolution.
In accordance with existing rules and regulations promulgated by the CSC, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), and jurisprudence, the following are regarded as partisan political activities, which refer to acts designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or party to public office:
- 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/party;
- Holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign for or against a candidate/party ;
- Making speeches, announcements, or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate or party for public office;
- Publishing, displaying, or distributing campaign literature, or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate or party;
- Directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges, or support for or against a candidate or party;
- Being a delegate to any political convention, or a member of any political committee or directorate, or an officer of any political club or other similar political organizations;
- Receiving any contributions for political purposes, either directly or indirectly;
- Becoming publicly identified with the success or failure of any candidate/s or party/ies;
- Wearing of t-shirts or pins, caps or any other similar election paraphernalia bearing the names of the candidates or political party except as authorized by the Commission on Elections;
- Being a watcher for a political party or candidate during the election;
- Consistent presence in political rallies, caucuses of, and continuous companionship with certain political candidates and/or political party in said political activities, causing the employee to be closely identified with such candidate and/or political party;
- Giving personal, financial or other monetary contributions, supplies, equipment and materials for the benefit of a candidate and/or political party;
- Utilizing government resources such as personnel, including job order or contract of service hirees, time, and properties for political purposes;
- Distributing handbills/leaflets;
- Attendance at political meetings and caucuses; and
- Distribution of letters indicating intention to run for public office.
All DepEd officials (including third level officials), teaching and non-teaching personnel, are prohibited from engaging in any electioneering or partisan political activity, subject to the exclusion under paragraphs 12 and 14 of the attachment to the enclosed CSC Resolution.
(Exclusions under paragraphs 12 and 14 of the enclosed CSC Resolution)
- 12. The following acts are deemed excluded from the coverage of electioneering and
partisan political activity:
- a) Casting one’s vote;
- b) Expressing one’s views on current political problems or issues;
- c) Mentioning the names of candidates or parties whom one supports;
- d) Letters (a) to (e) of Paragraph 8 of this Joint Circular, when performed for the purpose of enhancing the chances of aspirants for nomination for candidacy to public office by a political party or coalition;
- e) Public expressions, opinions, or discussions of probable issues in a forthcoming election, or on attributes of or criticisms against probable candidates to be nominated in a forthcoming political party convention;
- f) Social media functions such as “liking,” commenting, “sharing,” re-posting, or following a candidate’s or party’s account,13 unless these are resorted as a means to solicit support for or against a candidate or party during the campaign period.
- 14. The following are persons excluded from the coverage of the prohibition against engaging in any electioneering or partisan political activities, for as long as they do not solicit contributions from their subordinates or subject them to any of the acts prohibited in the Omnibus Election Code:
- a) The President and Vice President;
- b) Members of the Cabinet;
- c) Other elective public officials except barangay officials;
- d) Personal and confidential staff of the abovementioned officials;
- e) Members of the reserve corps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
DepEd officials are prohibited from using their position of authority to influence teaching and/or non-teaching personnel under their supervision or jurisdiction to support any preferred candidate or political party.
Any of the abovementioned prohibited acts committed by DepEd official /personnel shall be dealt with in accordance with the DepEd Order No. 49, s.
of 2006 (Revised Rules of Procedure of the Department of Education in Administrative Cases), the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, the Omnibus Election Code.
This Order is without prejudice to other circulars, advisories, or resolutions that may hereinafter be adopted by the CSC, COMELEC, and/or other relevant agencies.
Immediate dissemination of and strict compliance with this Order is directed.
LEONOR MAGTOLIS BRIONES
- Department of Education
Further reading on Election Offenses Punishable by Law for DepEd