Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. - The following shall be guilty of an election offense:
a. Vote-buying and vote-selling.
1. Any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise or grant, public or private, or makes or offers to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.
2. Any person, association, corporation, group or community who solicits or receives, directly or indirectly, any expenditure or promise of any office or employment, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations.
b. Conspiracy to bribe voters. - Two or more persons, whether candidates or not, who come to an agreement concerning the commission of any violation of paragraph (a) of this section and decide to commit it.
c. Wagering upon result of election. - Any person who bets or wagers upon the outcome of, or any contingency connected with an election. Any money or thing of value or deposit of money or thing of value situated anywhere in the Philippines put as such bet or wager shall be forfeited to the government.
d. Coercion of subordinates.
1. Any public officer, or any officer of any public or private corporation or association, or any head, superior, or administrator of any religious organization, or any employer or land-owner who coerces or intimidates or compels, or in any manner influence, directly or indirectly, any of his subordinates or members or parishioners or employees or house helpers, tenants, overseers, farm helpers, tillers, or lease holders to aid, campaign or vote for or against any candidate or any aspirant for the nomination or selection of candidates.
2. Any public officer or any officer of any commercial, industrial, agricultural, economic or social enterprise or public or private corporation or association, or any head, superior or administrator of any religious organization, or any employer or landowner who dismisses or threatens to dismiss, punishes or threatens to punish be reducing his salary, wage or compensation, or by demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, excommunication, ejectment, or causing him annoyance in the performance of his job or in his membership, any subordinate member or affiliate, parishioner, employee or house helper, tenant, overseer, farm helper, tiller, or lease holder, for disobeying or not complying with any of the acts ordered by the former to aid, campaign or vote for or against any candidate, or any aspirant for the nomination or selection of candidates.
e. Threats, intimidation, terrorism, use of fraudulent device or other forms of coercion. - Any person who, directly or indirectly, threatens, intimidates or actually causes, inflicts or produces any violence, injury, punishment, damage, loss or disadvantage upon any person or persons or that of the immediate members of his family, his honor or property, or uses any fraudulent device or scheme to compel or induce the registration or refraining from registration of any voter, or the participation in a campaign or refraining or desistance from any campaign, or the casting of any vote or omission to vote, or any promise of such registration, campaign, vote, or omission therefrom.
f. Coercion of election officials and employees. - Any person who, directly or indirectly, threatens, intimidates, terrorizes or coerces any election official or employee in the performance of his election functions or duties.
g. Appointment of new employees, creation of new position, promotion, or giving salary increases. - During the period of forty-five days before a regular election and thirty days before a special election,
1. any head, official or appointing officer of a government office, agency or instrumentality, whether national or local, including government-owned or controlled corporations, who appoints or hires any new employee, whether provisional, temporary or casual, or creates and fills any new position, except upon prior authority of the Commission. The Commission shall not grant the authority sought unless, it is satisfied that the position to be filled is essential to the proper functioning of the office or agency concerned, and that the position shall not be filled in a manner that may influence the election.
As an exception to the foregoing provisions, a new employee may be appointed in case of urgent need: Provided, however, That notice of the appointment shall be given to the Commission within three days from the date of the appointment. Any appointment or hiring in violation of this provision shall be null and void.
2. Any government official who promotes, or gives any increase of salary or remuneration or privilege to any government official or employee, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations.
h. Transfer of officers and employees in the civil service. - Any public official who makes or causes any transfer or detail whatever of any officer or employee in the civil service including public school teachers, within the election period except upon prior approval of the Commission.
i. Intervention of public officers and employees. - Any officer or employee in the civil service, except those holding political offices; any officer, employee, or member or the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or any police force, special forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense units and all other para-military units that now exist or which may hereafter be organized who, directly or indirectly, intervenes in any election campaign or engages in any partisan political activity, except to vote or to preserve public order, if he is a peace officer.
j. Undue influence. - It is unlawful for any person to promise any office or employment, public or private, or to make or offer to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or to cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation or entity, which may induce anyone or the public in general either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate in any election or any aspirant for the nomination or selection of an official candidate in a convention of a political party. It is likewise unlawful for any person, association, corporation or community, to solicit or receive, directly or indirectly, any expenditure or promise or any office, or employment, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations.
k. Unlawful electioneering. - It is unlawful to solicit votes or undertake any propaganda on the day of registration before the board of election inspectors and on the day of election, for or against any candidate or any political party within the polling place and with a radius of thirty meters thereof.
l. Prohibition against dismissal of employees, laborers, or tenants. - No employee or laborer shall be dismissed, nor a tenant be ejected from his landholdings for refusing or failing to vote for any candidate of his employer or landowner. Any employee, laborer or tenant so dismissed or ejected shall be reinstated and the salary or wage of the employee or laborer, or the share of the harvest of the tenant, shall be restored to the aggrieved party upon application to the proper court.
m. Appointment or use of special policemen, special agents, confidential agents or the like. - During the campaign period, on the day before and on election day, any appointing authority who appoints or any person who utilizes the services of special policemen, special agents, confidential agents or persons performing similar functions; persons previously appointed as special policemen, special agents, confidential agents or persons performing similar functions who continue acting as such, and those who fail to turn over their firearms, uniforms, insignias and other badges of authority to the proper officer who issued the same. At the start of the aforementioned period, the barangay chairman, municipal mayor, city mayor, provincial governor, or any appointing authority shall submit to the Commission a complete list of all special policemen, special agents, confidential agents or persons performing similar functions in the employ of their respective political subdivisions, with such particulars as the Commission may require.
n. Illegal release of prisoners before and after election. - The Director of the Bureau of Prisons, any provincial warden, the keeper of the jail or the person or persons required by law to keep prisoners in their custody who illegally orders or allows any prisoner detained in the national penitentiary, or the provincial, city or municipal jail to leave the premises thereof sixty days before and thirty days after the election. The municipal or city warden, the provincial warden, the keeper of the jail or the person or persons required by law to keep prisoners in their custody shall post in three conspicuous public places a list of the prisoners or detention prisoners under their care. Detention prisoners must be categorized as such.
o. Use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign. - Any person who uses under any guise whatsoever, directly or indirectly, (1) public funds or money deposited with, or held in trust by, public financing institutions or by government offices, banks, or agencies; (2) any printing press, radio, or television station or audio-visual equipment operated by the Government or by its divisions, sub-divisions, agencies or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by the Armed Forces of the Philippines; or (3) any equipment, vehicle, facility, apparatus, or paraphernalia owned by the government or by its political subdivisions, agencies including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for any election campaign or for any partisan political activity.
p. Deadly weapons. - Any person who carries any deadly weapon in the polling place and within a radius of one hundred meters thereof during the days and hours fixed by law for the registration of voters in the polling place, voting, counting of votes, or preparation of the election returns. However, in cases of affray, turmoil, or disorder, any peace officer or public officer authorized by the Commission to supervise the election is entitled to carry firearms or any other weapon for the purpose of preserving order and enforcing the law.
q. Carrying firearms outside residence or place of business. - Any person who, although possessing a permit to carry firearms, carries any firearms outside his residence or place of business during the election period, unless authorized in writing by the Commission: Provided, That a motor vehicle, water or air craft shall not be considered a residence or place of business or extension hereof.
This prohibition shall not apply to cashiers and disbursing officers while in the performance of their duties or to persons who by nature of their official duties, profession, business or occupation habitually carry large sums of money or valuables.
r. Use of armored land, water or air craft. - Any person who uses during the campaign period, on the day before and on election day, any armored land, water or air craft, provided with any temporary or permanent equipment or any other device or contraption for the mounting or installation of cannons, machine guns and other similar high caliber firearms, including military type tanks, half trucks, scout trucks, armored trucks, of any make or model, whether new, reconditioned, rebuilt or remodelled: Provided, That banking or financial institutions and all business firms may use not more than two armored vehicles strictly for, and limited to, the purpose of transporting cash, gold bullion or other valuables in connection with their business from and to their place of business, upon previous authority of the Commission.
s. Wearing of uniforms and bearing arms. - During the campaign period, on the day before and on election day, any member of security or police organization of government agencies, commissions, councils, bureaus, offices, or government-owned or controlled corporations, or privately-owned or operated security, investigative, protective or intelligence agencies, who wears his uniform or uses his insignia, decorations or regalia, or bears arms outside the immediate vicinity of his place of work: Provided, That this prohibition shall not apply when said member is in pursuit of a person who has committed or is committing a crime in the premises he is guarding; or when escorting or providing security for the transport of payrolls, deposits, or other valuables; or when guarding the residence of private persons or when guarding private residences, buildings or offices: Provided, further, That in the last case prior written approval of the Commission shall be obtained. The Commission shall decide all applications for authority under this paragraph within fifteen days from the date of the filing of such application.
During the same period, and ending thirty days thereafter any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, special, forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense units and all other para-military units that now exist or which may hereafter be organized who wears his uniform or bears arms outside the camp, garrison or barracks to which he is assigned or detailed or outside their homes, in case of members of para-military units, unless:
1. the President of the Philippines shall have given previous authority therefor, and the Commission notified thereof in writing, or
2. the Commission authorizes him to do so, which authority it shall give only when necessary to assist it in maintaining free, orderly and honest elections, and only after notice and hearing. All personnel of the Armed Forces authorized by the President or the Commission to bear arms or wear their uniforms outside their camps and all police and peace officers shall bear their true name, rank and serial number, if any, stitched in block letters on a white background on the left breast of their uniform, in letters and numbers of a clearly legible design at least two centimeters tall, which shall at all times remain visible and uncovered.
During the election period, whenever the Commission finds it necessary for the promotion of free, orderly, honest and peaceful elections in a specific area, it shall confiscate or order the confiscation of firearms of any member or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, police forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense units, and all other para-military units that now exist, or which may hereafter be organized, or any member or members of the security or police organization, government ministries, commissions, councils, bureaus, offices, instrumentalities, or government-owned or controlled corporations and other subsidiaries, or of any member or members of privately owned or operated security, investigative, protective or intelligence agencies performing identical or similar functions.
t. Policemen and provincial guards acting as bodyguards or security guards. - During the campaign period, on the day before and on election day, any member of the city or municipal police force, any provincial or sub-provincial guard, any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, special forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense units and all other para-military units that now exist or which may hereafter be organized who acts as bodyguard or security guard of any public official, candidate or any other person, and any of the latter who utilizes the services of the former as bodyguard or security guard: Provided, That, after due notice and hearing, when the life and security of a candidate is in jeopardy, the Commission is empowered to assign at the candidate's choice, any member of the Philippine Constabulary or the police force of any municipality within the province to act as his bodyguard or security guard in a number to be determined by the Commission but not to exceed three per candidate: Provided, however, That when the circumstances require immediate action, the Commission may issue a temporary order allowing the assignment of any member of the Philippine Constabulary or the local police force to act as bodyguard or security guard of the candidate, subject to confirmation or revocation.
u. Organization or maintenance of reaction forces, strike forces, or other similar forces. - Any person who organizes or maintains a reaction force, strike force or similar force during the election period.
The heads of all reaction forces, strike forces, or similar forces shall, not later than forty-five days before the election, submit to the Commission a complete list of all members thereof with such particulars as the Commission may require.
v. Prohibition against release, disbursement or expenditure of public funds. - Any public official or employee including barangay officials and those of government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, who, during forty-five days before a regular election and thirty days before a special election, releases, disburses or expends any public funds for:
1. Any and all kinds of public works, except the following:
a. Maintenance of existing and/or completed public works project: Provided, That not more than the average number of laborers or employees already employed therein during the six-month period immediately prior to the beginning of the forty-five day period before election day shall be permitted to work during such time: Provided, further, That no additional laborers shall be employed for maintenance work within the said period of forty-five days;
b. Work undertaken by contract through public bidding held, or by negotiated contract awarded, before the forty-five day period before election: Provided, That work for the purpose of this section undertaken under the so-called "takay" or "paquiao" system shall not be considered as work by contract;
c. Payment for the usual cost of preparation for working drawings, specifications, bills of materials, estimates, and other procedures preparatory to actual construction including the purchase of materials and equipment, and all incidental expenses for wages of watchmen and other laborers employed for such work in the central office and field storehouses before the beginning of such period: Provided, That the number of such laborers shall not be increased over the number hired when the project or projects were commenced; and
d. Emergency work necessitated by the occurrence of a public calamity, but such work shall be limited to the restoration of the damaged facility.
No payment shall be made within five days before the date of election to laborers who have rendered services in projects or works except those falling under subparagraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d), of this paragraph.
This prohibition shall not apply to ongoing public works projects commenced before the campaign period or similar projects under foreign agreements. For purposes of this provision, it shall be the duty of the government officials or agencies concerned to report to the Commission the list of all such projects being undertaken by them.
2. The Ministry of Social Services and Development and any other office in other ministries of the government performing functions similar to said ministry, except for salaries of personnel, and for such other routine and normal expenses, and for such other expenses as the Commission may authorize after due notice and hearing. Should a calamity or disaster occur, all releases normally or usually coursed through the said ministries and offices of other ministries shall be turned over to, and administered and disbursed by, the Philippine National Red Cross, subject to the supervision of the Commission on Audit or its representatives, and no candidate or his or her spouse or member of his family within the second civil degree of affinity or consanguinity shall participate, directly or indirectly, in the distribution of any relief or other goods to the victims of the calamity or disaster; and
3. The Ministry of Human Settlements and any other office in any other ministry of the government performing functions similar to said ministry, except for salaries of personnel and for such other necessary administrative or other expenses as the Commission may authorize after due notice and hearing.
w. Prohibition against construction of public works, delivery of materials for public works and issuance of treasury warrants and similar devices. - During the period of forty-five days preceding a regular election and thirty days before a special election, any person who:
. undertakes the construction of any public works, except for projects or works exempted in the preceding paragraph; or
a. issues, uses or avails of treasury warrants or any device undertaking future delivery of money, goods or other things of value chargeable against public funds.
x. Suspension of elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay officer. - The provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding during the election period, any public official who suspends, without prior approval of the Commission, any elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay officer, unless said suspension will be for purposes of applying the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act" in relation to the suspension and removal of elective officials; in which case the provisions of this section shall be inapplicable.
y. On Registration of Voters:
1. Any person who, having all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications of a voter, fails without justifiable excuse to register as a voter in an election, plebiscite or referendum in which he is qualified to vote.
2. Any person who knowingly makes any false or untruthful statement relative to any of the data or information required in the application for registration.
3. Any person who deliberately imprints or causes the imprinting of blurred or indistinct fingerprints on any of the copies of the application for registration or on the voter's affidavit; or any person in charge of the registration of voters who deliberately or through negligence, causes or allows the imprinting of blurred or indistinct fingerprints on any of the aforementioned registration forms, or any person who tampers with the fingerprints in said registration records.
4. Any member of the board of election inspectors who approves any application which on its face shows that the applicant does not possess all the qualifications prescribed by law for a voter; or who disapproves any application which on its face shows that the applicant possesses all such qualifications.
5. Any person who, being a registered voter, registers anew without filing an application for cancellation of his previous registration.
6. Any person who registers in substitution for another whether with or without the latter's knowledge or consent.
7. Any person who tampers with or changes without authority any data or entry in any voter's application for registration.
8. Any person who delays, hinders or obstruct another from registering.
9. Any person who falsely certifies or identifies another as a bona fide resident of a particular place or locality for the purpose of securing the latter's registration as a voter.
10. Any person who uses the voter's affidavit of another for the purpose of voting, whether or not he actually succeeds in voting.
11. Any person who places, inserts or otherwise includes, as approved application for registration in the book of voters or in the provincial or national central files of registered voters, the application of any fictitious voter or any application that has not been approved; or removes from, or otherwise takes out of the book of voters or the provincial or national central files of registered voters any duly approved voter's application, except upon lawful order of the Commission, or of a competent court or after proper cancellation as provided in Sections 122, 123, 124 and 125 hereof.
12. Any person who transfers or causes the transfer of the registration record of a voter to the book of voters of another polling place, unless said transfer was due to a change of address of the voter and the voter was duly notified of his new polling place.
13. Any person who asks, demands, takes, accepts or possesses, directly or indirectly, the voter's affidavit of another, in order to induce the latter to withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate in an election or any issue in a plebiscite or referendum. It shall be presumed prima facie that the asking, demanding, taking, accepting, or possessing is with such intent if done within the period beginning ten days before election day and ending ten days after election day, unless the voter's affidavit of another and the latter are both members of the same family.
14. Any person who delivers, hands over, entrusts, gives, directly or indirectly his voter's affidavit to another in consideration of money or other benefit or promises thereof, or takes or accepts such voter's affidavit directly or indirectly, by giving or causing the giving of money or other benefit or making or causing the making of a promise thereof.
15. Any person who alters in any manner, tears, defaces, removes or destroys any certified list of voters.
16. Any person who takes, carries or possesses any blank or unused registration form already issued to a city or municipality outside of said city or municipality except as otherwise provided in this Code or when directed by express order of the court or of the Commission.
17. Any person who maliciously omits, tampers or transfers to another list the name of a registered voter from the official list of voters posted outside the polling place.
1. Any person who fails to cast his vote without justifiable excuse.
2. Any person who votes more than once in the same election, or who, not being a registered voter, votes in an election.
3. Any person who votes in substitution for another whether with or without the latter's knowledge and/or consent.
4. Any person who, not being illiterate or physically disabled, allows his ballot to be prepared by another, or any person who prepares the ballot of another who is not illiterate or physically disabled, with or without the latter's knowledge and/or consent.
5. Any person who avails himself of any means of scheme to discover the contents of the ballot of a voter who is preparing or casting his vote or who has just voted.
6. Any voter who, in the course of voting, uses a ballot other than the one given by the board of election inspectors or has in his possession more than one official ballot.
7. Any person who places under arrest or detains a voter without lawful cause, or molests him in such a manner as to obstruct or prevent him from going to the polling place to cast his vote or from returning home after casting his vote, or to compel him to reveal how he voted.
8. Any member of the board of election inspectors charged with the duty of reading the ballot during the counting of votes who deliberately omits to read the vote duly written on the ballot, or misreads the vote actually written thereon or reads the name of a candidate where no name is written on the ballot.
9. Any member of the board of election inspectors charged with the duty of tallying the votes in the tally board or sheet, election returns or other prescribed form who deliberately fails to record a vote therein or records erroneously the votes as read, or records a vote where no such vote has been read by the chairman.
10. Any member of a board of election inspectors who has made possible the casting of more votes than there are registered voters.
11. Any person who, for the purpose of disrupting or obstructing the election process or causing confusion among the voters, propagates false and alarming reports or information or transmits or circulates false orders, directives or messages regarding any matter relating to the printing of official ballots, the postponement of the election, the transfer of polling place or the general conduct of the election.
12. Any person who, without legal authority, destroys, substitutes or takes away from the possession of those having legal custody thereof, or from the place where they are legally deposited, any election form or document or ballot box which contains official ballots or other documents used in the election.
13. Any person having legal custody of the ballot box containing the official ballots used in the election who opens or destroys said box or removes or destroys its contents without or against the order of the Commission or who, through his negligence, enables any person to commit any of the aforementioned acts, or takes away said ballot box from his custody.
14. Any member of the board of election inspectors who knowingly uses ballots other than the official ballots, except in those cases where the use of emergency ballots is authorized.
15. Any public official who neglects or fails to properly preserve or account for any ballot box, documents and forms received by him and kept under his custody.
16. Any person who reveals the contents of the ballot of an illiterate or disabled voter whom he assisted in preparing a ballot.
17. Any person who, without authority, transfers the location of a polling place.
18. Any person who, without authority, prints or causes the printing of any ballot or election returns that appears as official ballots or election returns or who distributes or causes the same to be distributed for use in the election, whether or not they are actually used.
19. Any person who, without authority, keeps, uses or carries out or causes to be kept, used or carried out, any official ballot or election returns or printed proof thereof, type-form mould, electro-type printing plates and any other plate, numbering machines and other printing paraphernalia being used in connection with the printing of official ballots or election returns.
20. Any official or employee of any printing establishment or of the Commission or any member of the committee in charge of the printing of official ballots or election returns who causes official ballots or election returns to be printed in quantities exceeding those authorized by the Commission or who distributes, delivers, or in any manner disposes of or causes to be distributed, delivered, or disposed of, any official ballot or election returns to any person or persons not authorized by law or by the Commission to receive or keep official ballots or election returns or who sends or causes them to be sent to any place not designated by law or by the Commission.
21. Any person who, through any act, means or device, violates the integrity of any official ballot or election returns before or after they are used in the election.
22. Any person who removes, tears, defaces or destroys any certified list of candidates posted inside the voting booths during the hours of voting.
23. Any person who holds or causes the holding of an election on any other day than that fixed by law or by the Commission, or stops any election being legally held.
24. Any person who deliberately blurs his fingerprint in the voting record.
1. Any chairman of the board of canvassers who fails to give due notice of the date, time and place of the meeting of said board to the candidates, political parties and/or members of the board.
2. Any member of the board of canvassers who proceeds with the canvass of the votes and/or proclamation of any candidate which was suspended or annulled by the Commission.
3. Any member of the board of canvassers who proceeds with the canvass of votes and/or proclamation of any candidate in the absence of quorum, or without giving due notice of the date, time and place of the meeting of the board to the candidates, political parties, and/or other members of the board.
4. Any member of the board of canvassers who, without authority of the Commission, uses in the canvass of votes and/or proclamation of any candidate any document other than the official copy of the election returns.
bb. Common to all boards of election inspectors and boards of canvassers:
5. Any member of any board of election inspectors or board of canvassers who deliberately absents himself from the meetings of said body for the purpose of obstructing or delaying the performance of its duties or functions.
6. Any member of any board of election inspectors or board of canvassers who, without justifiable reason, refuses to sign and certify any election form required by this Code or prescribed by the Commission although he was present during the meeting of the said body.
7. Any person who, being ineligible for appointment as member of any board of election inspectors or board of canvassers, accepts an appointment to said body, assumes office, and actually serves as a member thereof, or any of public officer or any person acting in his behalf who appoints such ineligible person knowing him to be ineligible.
8. Any person who, in the presence or within the hearing of any board of election inspectors or board of canvassers during any of its meetings, conducts himself in such a disorderly manner as to interrupt or disrupt the work or proceedings to the end of preventing said body from performing its functions, either partly or totally.
9. Any public official or person acting in his behalf who relieves any member of any board of election inspectors or board of canvassers or who changes or causes the change of the assignments of any member of said board of election inspectors or board of canvassers without authority of the Commission.
11. Any person who abstracts, destroys or cancels any certificate of candidacy duly filed and which has not been cancelled upon order of the Commission.
12. Any person who misleads the board of election inspectors by submitting any false or spurious certificate of candidacy or document to the prejudice of a candidate.
13. Any person who, being authorized to receive certificates of candidacy, receives any certificate of candidacy outside the period for filing the same and makes it appear that said certificate of candidacy was filed on time; or any person who, by means of fraud, threat, intimidation, terrorism or coercion, causes or compels the commission of said act.
14. Any person who, by any device or means, jams, obstructs or interferes with a radio or television broadcast of any lawful political program.
15. Any person who solicits votes or undertakes any propaganda, on the day of election, for or against any candidate or any political party within the polling place or within a radius of thirty meters thereof.
dd. Other prohibitions:
16. Any person who sells, furnishes, offers, buys, serves or takes intoxicating liquor on the days fixed by law for the registration of voters in the polling place, or on the day before the election or on election day: Provided, That hotels and other establishments duly certified by the Ministry of Tourism as tourist oriented and habitually in the business of catering to foreign tourists may be exempted for justifiable reasons upon prior authority of the Commission: Provided, further, That foreign tourists taking intoxicating liquor in said authorized hotels or establishments are exempted from the provisions of this subparagraph.
17. Any person who opens in any polling place or within a radius of thirty meters thereof on election day and during the counting of votes, booths or stalls of any kind for the sale, dispensing or display of wares, merchandise or refreshments, whether solid or liquid, or for any other purposes.
19. Refusal to carry election mail matter. - Any operator or employee of a public utility or transportation company operating under a certificate of public convenience, including government-owned or controlled postal service or its employees or deputized agents who refuse to carry official election mail matters free of charge during the election period. In addition to the penalty prescribed herein, such refusal shall constitute a ground for cancellation or revocation of certificate of public convenience or franchise.
20. Prohibition against discrimination in the sale of air time. - Any person who operates a radio or television station who without justifiable cause discriminates against any political party, coalition or aggroupment of parties or any candidate in the sale of air time. In addition to the penalty prescribed herein, such refusal shall constitute a ground for cancellation or revocation of the franchise.
Sec. 262. Other election offenses. - Violation of the provisions, or pertinent portions, of the following sections of this Code shall constitute election offenses: Sections 9, 18, 74, 75, 76, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 122, 123, 127, 128, 129, 132, 134, 135, 145, 148, 150, 152, 172, 173, 174, 178, 180, 182, 184, 185, 186, 189, 190, 191, 192, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 223, 229, 230, 231, 233, 234, 235, 236, 239 and 240.
Sec. 263. Persons criminally liable. - The principals, accomplices, and accessories, as defined in the Revised Penal Code, shall be criminally liable for election offenses. If the one responsible be a political party or an entity, its president or head, the officials and employees of the same, performing duties connected with the offense committed and its members who may be principals, accomplices, or accessories shall be liable, in addition to the liability of such party or entity.
Sec. 264. Penalties. - Any person found guilty of any election offense under this Code shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage. If he is a foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which shall be enforced after the prison term has been served. Any political party found guilty shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos, which shall be imposed upon such party after criminal action has been instituted in which their corresponding officials have been found guilty. In case of prisoner or prisoners illegally released from any penitentiary or jail during the prohibited period as provided in Section 261, paragraph (n) of this Code, the director of prisons, provincial warden, keeper of the jail or prison, or persons who are required by law to keep said prisoner in their custody shall, if convicted by a competent court, be sentenced to suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period if the prisoner or prisoners so illegally released commit any act of intimidation, terrorism of interference in the election. Any person found guilty of the offense of failure to register or failure to vote shall, upon conviction, be fined one hundred pesos. In addition, he shall suffer disqualification to run for public office in the next succeeding election following his conviction or be appointed to a public office for a period of one year following his conviction.
Sec. 265. Prosecution. - The Commission shall, through its duly authorized legal officers, have the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable under this Code, and to prosecute the same. The Commission may avail of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of the government: Provided, however, That in the event that the Commission fails to act on any complaint within four months from his filing, the complainant may file the complaint with the office of the fiscal or with the Ministry of Justice for proper investigation and prosecution, if warranted.
Sec. 266. Arrest in connection with the election campaign. - No person shall be arrested and/or detained at any time for any alleged offense committed during and in connection with any election through any act or language tending to support or oppose any candidate, political party or coalition of political parties under or pursuant to any order of whatever name or nature and by whomsoever issued except only upon a warrant of arrest issued by a competent judge after all the requirements of the Constitution shall have been strictly complied with. If the offense charged is punishable under a presidential decree whether originally or by amendment of a previous law, the death penalty shall not be imposed upon the offender except where murder, rape or arson is involved. In all cases, the penalty shall not be higher than reclusion perpetua and the offender shall be entitled to reasonable bail upon sufficient sureties to be granted speedily by the competent court. Moreover, loss of the right of citizenship and confiscation of property shall not be imposed. Any officer or a person who shall violate any provision of this section shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day nor more than twelve (12) years, with the accessory penalties for election offenses. The provision of Section 267 of this Code shall not apply to prosecution under this section.
Sec. 267. Prescription. - Election offenses shall prescribe after five years from the date of their commission. If the discovery of the offense be made in an election contest proceedings, the period of prescription shall commence on the date on which the judgment in such proceedings becomes final and executory.
Sec. 268. Jurisdiction of courts. - The regional trial court shall have the exclusive original jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or proceedings for violation of this Code, except those relating to the offense of failure to register or failure to vote which shall be under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan or municipal trial courts. From the decision of the courts, appeal will lie as in other criminal cases.
Sec. 269. Preferential disposition of election offenses. - The investigation and prosecution of cases involving violations of the election laws shall be given preference and priority by the Commission on Elections and prosecuting officials. Their investigation shall be commenced without delay, and shall be resolved by the investigating officer within five days from its submission for resolution. The courts shall likewise give preference to election offenses over all other cases, except petitions for writ of habeas corpus. Their trial shall likewise be commenced without delay, and shall be conducted continuously until terminated, and the case shall be decided within thirty days from its submission for decision.