Omnibus Election Code: An Overview

Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, is the basic law governing the conduct of an election. Among others, it covers the following:

(a) the election of national and local officials;

(b) the powers and functions of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), which is the government agency tasked with the implementation of the Code and other election laws;

(c) the qualifications of candidates and the filing of certificates of candidacies;

(d) the registration of political parties;

(e) election propaganda and conduct of the campaign;

(f) electoral contributions and expenditures;

(g) the registration of voters;

(h) precincts and polling places;

(i) the appointment of watchers;

(j) official ballots and election returns;

(k) the casting and counting of votes;

(l) the canvass of votes and proclamation of winning candidates;

(m) pre-proclamation controversies;

(n) election contests;

(o) election offenses; and

(p) legal fees.

While the Omnibus Election Code is the basic law governing the conduct of elections, there are other laws that govern the conduct of elections. These include:

(a) Republic Act No. 6646 (The Electoral Reforms Law of 1987);

(b) Republic Act No. 6735 (The Initiative and Referendum Act);

(c) Republic Act No. 7166 (An Act Providing For Synchronized National and Local Elections and For Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and For Other Purposes), as amended;

(d) Republic Act No. 7941 (Party-List System Act);

(e) Republic Act No. 8189 (The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996);

(f) Republic Act No. 8295 (An Act Providing for the Proclamation of a Lone Candidate for Any Elective Office in a Special Election, and for Other Purposes);

(g) Republic Act No. 8436 (An Act Authorizing the Commission on Elections to use an Automated Election System in the May 11, 1998 National or Local Elections and in Subsequent National and Local Exercises and For Other Purposes);

(g) Republic Act No. 9006 (Fair Elections Act); and

(h) Republic Act No. 9189 (The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003).

The Omnibus Election Code must be read together with these other laws.

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