AT the start of the election campaign period yesterday the Commission on Elections said they called out several Senate bets and party-list groups over campaign materials still posted in prohibited areas.
The Comelec called out the camps of former Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Manuel “Mar “ Roxas II, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Senator Sonny Angara, former Presidential adviser for Political Affairs adviser Francis Tolentino, as well as organizations seeking party-list seats Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta , Buhay, Talino at Galing ng Pinoy and Serbisyo Para sa Bayan, for having campaign posters which are either oversized or not in common poster areas assigned by Comelec.
With the campaign period for the May midterm polls officially starting yesterday for senatorial and partylist candidates, the Comelec reminded candidates about the consequences of putting up illegal campaign paraphernalia.
Director James Jimenez, Comelec spokesman, warned that candidates who post campaign posters in areas that are not designated by the poll body may face disqualification.
He also said the size of campaign posters should be two feet by three feet.
Jimenez said campaign materials may be posted in common poster areas as well as in private properties with consent of the owners.
“Ang ilegal na pag-post po ng materials, wrong size, wrong location, election offense po yan... Maaari kang ma-disqualify. Yan po ang pinanggagalingan ng frustration ng marami kasi para sa publiko pag sinabi nilang nakita ko ang poster nito na lumalabag, eh dapat bukas hindi na nangangampanya yan. Dapat disqualified na,” he said.
The official clarified, however, that candidates are still entitled to due process if they supposedly violated any campaign rules.
Meanwhile, Jimenez said Comelec is also drafting its policy regarding electronic billboards, reminding candidates to be cautious in using them.
“Bumabalangkas pa lang kami ng rules para diyan kasi bago yan eh. Dati ang pinapayagan natin yung maliliit na parang electronic billboard na nasa loob ng building. Pero yung nasa labas, di pa yan covered ng kahit anong rules sa ngayon. Sa mga gumagamit niyan, dahan-dahan lang tayo kasi maglalabas din tayo ng rules para diyan,” he said.
Jimenez also reminded candidates that campaign posters and streamers used in political rallies should be removed within 24 hours after the political rally has ended.
Under Comelec Resolution 10488 which serves as implementing rules and regulations of the Fair Elections Act for the May 2019 polls, parties and candidates may post their campaign materials in:
• authorized common poster areas in public places as plazas, markets, barangay centers and the like where posters may be readily seen or read, and with the heaviest pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic in the city or municipality; and
•private property, provided that the posting has the consent of the owner
Posters and tarpaulins of political parties and party-list groups should only measure 12 feet by 16 feet or its equivalent but not exceeding a total area of 192 square feet.
Posters of independent candidates, on the other hand, should be within four feet by six feet or its equivalent but not exceeding a total area of 24 square feet.
For individual posters allowed in common poster areas, their sizes should not exceed two feet by three feet.
In case of space limitations, posters of candidates of political parties may be reduced to a uniform size to accommodate all candidates. This provision, however, prohibits making single letters of names having the maximum size or lesser and then putting them together to form a size exceeding two feet by three feet.
Likewise, the same Comelec Resolution states that persons posting the campaign materials in prohibited areas will be liable together with the candidates and other persons who caused the posting.
The Comelec Resolution also presumes that the candidates and parties caused the posting of campaign materials outside the common poster areas “if they do not remove the same within three days from notice issued by the Election Officer of the city or municipality where the election propaganda is posted or displayed.”
The campaign period for those seeking Senate posts and party-list representations will run from February 12, until May 11.
It is also unlawful for any person or for any political party, or association of persons to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity on Maundy Thursday, April 18 and on Good Friday, April 19, the eve of Election Day, May 12, and May 13. Election Day is set on May 13.