With the upcoming May 2022 elections, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) reminds government officials and employees to follow its joint circular with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on electioneering and partisan political activity. This 2016 joint circular aims to ensure that civil servants and the armed forces shall remain focused on the efficient discharge of their duties and functions, do way with the “spoils system”, and shield the civil service and armed forces the vagaries of politics. Learn about the provisions of the joint circular below:
What are electioneering and partisan political activity?
These refer to acts designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate/s or party/ies to public office.
Who are covered?
All members of the civil service, whether permanent, temporary, contractual or casual, who are employed in all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Philippine government, are prohibited from engaging in any electioneering or partisan political activities.
In addition, career officers holding political offices in an acting or officer-in-charge capacity, as well as uniformed and active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are also included. Even those on leave of absences are still covered by the prohibition.
However, officials or employees holding political offices such as the President, Vice President, cabinet members, elective local officials except barangay officials, the staff of the abovementioned officials, and members of the reserve corps of the AFP are excluded.
What are the prohibited acts?
Under COMELEC Resolution No. 10049, s. 2016, the following acts are considered as election campaign or partisan political activities:
1. 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
2. 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
3. Making speeches, announcements or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate for public office
4. Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate
5. Directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges, or support for or against a candidate
Further, CSC Memorandum Circular No. 30, series of 2009; and CSC MC No. 9, series of 1992,
Identity the following as prohibited acts:
1. 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
2. Receiving any contributions for political purposes, either directly or indirectly
3. Becoming publicly identified with the success or failure of any candidate/s or party/ies
4. Wearing of t-shirts, pins, caps, or any other similar election paraphernalia bearing the names of candidates and/or political parties
5. Being a watcher for a political party or candidate during the election
6. Consistent presence in political rallies, caucuses of, and continuous companionship with certain political candidates and/or political party, making one closely identified with such candidates or party
7. Giving, soliciting, or receiving financial or monetary contributions, supplies, equipment, and materials for the benefit of a candidate and/or political party
8. Utilizing government resources such as personnel, including job order or contract of service hirees, time, and properties for political purposes
What can government workers do?
Excluded acts that civil servants can do are the following:
1. Casting one’s vote
2. Expressing one’s views on current political problems or issues
3. Mentoring the names of candidates or parties whom one supports
4. Public expressions, opinions, or discussion of probable issues in a forthcoming election, or on attributes of or criticisms against probable candidates to be nominated on a forthcoming political party convention.
During the Lunchat with CSC episode last 16 December 2021, CSC Assistant Commissioner
Ariel G. Ronquillo pointed out that in terms of social media use, government workers may post,
Like, comment, or follow a candidate’s or part’s account. They may also share a picture of a
Candidate/party, a statement, or anything related to a certain candidate/party as long as they do
Not explicitly solicit support for or against a candidate/party during the campaign period.
What are the penalties?
Government employees found guilty of engaging directly or indirectly in partisan political
Activities will be meted the penalty of one month and one day suspension to six months for the
First offense; and dismissal from the service for the second offense.
For the detailed information on electioneering and partisan political activities, read
COMELEC-CSC Joint Circular No. 1, series of 2016 and watch the 16 December episode of
LunChat with CSC.