THE 90-day official campaign period for those seeking national positions in the May 13 offseason election started Tuesday, February 12, with the country still teeming with “illegal” campaign materials.
Of course, the proliferation of unauthorized campaign posters and billboards upset officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which is tasked to oversee the conduct of polls in the country.
The poll body reminded those running for senator and various party-list groups about the consequences of putting up campaign paraphernalia outside the so-called common poster areas.
Erring senatorial candidates and party-list groups run the risk of being disqualified, according to Director James Jimenez, a lawyer who is Comelec spokesman.
Jimenez said the campaign materials may be posted in common poster areas as well as in private properties with the consent of the owners.
“Ang iligal na pag-post po ng (poll) materials, wrong size, wrong location (ay) election offense po ’yan… Maaari kang ma-disaqualify,” he said but assured bets they are entitled to due process.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 10488, persons posting the campaign materials in prohibited areas will be liable together with the candidates and other persons who caused the posting.
In impoverished Philippines, the Filipino people go to the polls every three years to elect local government officials, 12 new senators and party-list members of the House of Representatives.
Records show that local polls are bloodier than presidential elections, which are held every six years.
For purposes of the May 13 offseason balloting, which is democracy in action, a total of 701 areas nationwide have been identified as “election hotspots” by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
PNP chief Director-General Oscar D. Albayalde said the number of poll hotspots was based on the parameter set by the Comelec. Of the number, 94 are considered areas of grave concern.
With President Duterte in Malacañang, people hope to see the holding of free, honest, clean and credible elections on May 13, 2019.