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CHED to ban poll bets in graduation ceremonies

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Candidates running in the May 2019 elections are not allowed as guest speakers in graduation ceremonies of public and private higher education institutions (HEIs), an official of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Wednesday.

“We’re issuing a memorandum by next week after the commission en banc, enjoining all the higher education institutions, not to invite candidates to speak in graduation exercises and for state universities and colleges to prohibit them,” CHED chair J. Prospero de Vera III told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the launching of Shared Genomics Core Laboratory in Quezon City.

De Vera also encouraged all HEIs to do “aggressive” citizen and voter education by hosting debates — for both senatorial and local candidates — with the condition that all electoral bets are invited.

He clarified that state and local universities and colleges need not request approval from CHED in order to host the events.

“They will need to get the approval of their Board of Regents because they have a public function and they are covered by Civil Service Commission (CSC) rules on political neutrality,” he said.

Public HEIs that violate the order would be served appropriate administrative sanctions under CSC rules and regulations, de Vera added.

“CSC encourages state and local universities and colleges to take part of the elections, express their views about candidates, but it doesn’t allow them to attend rallies, campaigns and handout leaflets and put on shirts of political candidates,” he said.

He added that private HEIs are not covered by CSC administrative sanctions but are “urged not to invite political candidates in graduation ceremonies”.

The campaign period for senatorial and party-list candidates began on February 12. The campaign period for local candidates begins on March 29. (PNA)

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