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Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

Premature Campaigning: No Longer A Violation

As 2016 election approaches, more and more political hopefuls are going the extra mile to win more votes. You can see a plethora of political ads and various campaign strategies, which are clear signs that election is just around the corner.  In the past, premature campaigning is considered a violation but based on the country’s statute books, it is no longer a violation. It was used to be a criminal offense that can result in disqualification of the candidate. 

Under Section 68 of the Election code, any candidate who in a protest or action in which he is a party is declared, based on the final decision of a competent court is considered guilty of violating any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261. This leads to the disqualification of candidate from holding the office or running for election. If you see political ads on TV, they are not considered as a violation of the election code. 

Premature Campaigning And Its Considerations

An act will only be considered as election campaigning when it intends to promote the election or defeat of a person who has already filed a certificate for candidacy. Even if the person deemed most qualified for public office appears to be campaigning, he still does not violate any laws unless he has officially filed his COC. 

No one can be punished for prematurely campaigning under Section 80 of the Election Code if the person is not yet legally a candidate. In the past elections, the voting and counting process were still manual and a timeline must be observed for filing a COC. It should not be later than one day before the start of the campaign period. This is to ensure that the opportunity to campaign is maximized without breaking the law. 

However, when automated election was introduced by RA 8436 in 1997, the deadline for filing COCs has also changed. It should not be later than 120 days before the election. If candidates file their COCs earlier than the said deadline, they will be punished for premature campaigning especially if campaigns took place between the date of COC filing and the start of the campaign period.

With the most recent amendment, Section 11 of the law states that even if COCs are filed before the campaign period, the candidates will not be liable for violating laws on campaigning. The law takes effect on the start of the campaign period. In the simplest term, no one can be charged for premature campaigning if there are no candidates yet.

How To Choose A Criminal Defense Lawyer?

In a situation where you need to seek help from a criminal defense lawyer, setting some criteria will help you bypass the daunting selection process. If you are going to rely on the Internet for some information, you need to be specific with the type of lawyer you are looking for as you will get thousands of search results. While it can be hard to make up your mind, knowing the qualities you need to look for will save you from wasting both your time and money. When you are looking for a criminal defense lawyer, it is important that you take your time. If you are being offered the lowest service cost, you should consider this as a warning sign because the quality of the service might be compromised. Here are some tips you can use for searching for a criminal defense lawyer: 

1. Choose a lawyer with years of experience. 

If you want to increase the chances of gaining a positive outcome of the verdict, you should prioritize lawyers with substantial experience in criminal defense. Make sure the criminal defense lawyer you choose is capable of assisting your needs. If you are charged with a federal crime, you should also choose a lawyer who specializes in federal law. 

2. Get some references in different ways.

You can also obtain some prospects through referrals, courtroom observation, professional organizations and Internet search. List all of your prospects and schedule an interview so you will find out if you have gotten a hold of the right person for the job. 

3. Ask some questions. 

Aside from setting your personal criteria, knowing the questions to ask can get you in the right direction. There are some essential questions you need to ask for you to know if your prospect is really a good fit. You can ask the lawyer’s experience in handling criminal cases, their payment policies or the approaches they use during jury trials. 

4. Verify the information provided by the prospective lawyer.

You might already been told regarding your prospects’ qualification but you have to check on the veracity of their claims. If a lawyer claims to be an expert as a criminal defense lawyer, you need to check several factors such as their track record for winning a case. 

5. Read feedback and reviews. 

You have to find out if the lawyers have a good reputation to his colleagues and previous clients. There are feedback and reviews you can read from various sources. They are helpful in terms of providing background information of your prospective lawyer. 

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