Public urged to report election violations-A A +A
Monday, February 11, 2013
MANILA -- The Commission of Elections (Comelec) has called on the public to report possible campaign violation as the 90-day campaign period for those running for senator and party-list representatives begins Tuesday.
Thirty-three senatorial candidates and 123 partylist groups, including those that are given temporary reprieve by the Supreme Court, may start wooing the voters for their support beginning February 12 until May 11, or two days before Election Day.
On his Twitter account, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. appealed to the public to help them in policing the candidates.
"Tulungan ninyo po kaming magbantay (Please help us watch over the candidates)," the poll body chairman said.
The Comelec had opened an official Twitter account (@Comelec), wherein the public may report to the poll body violations of candidates during the campaign period through a simple tweet or Twitpic (pictures posted via Twitter).
The Comelec has already set its rules on how candidates should behave during the campaign period in the spirit of fairness through its Resolution 9615.
According to the resolution, the number of minutes allowable to each candidate shall now be counted in total and not per television or radio station just like in the past.
For each national candidate, the commission said their advertisements in the broadcast media must not be more than a combined total of 120 minutes for TV and 180 minutes for radio.
Also, the Comelec is said there must be prior notice from the former before television and radio shows would interview candidates.
Similarly, the commission will implement the right to reply provision of the law, wherein bona fide candidates shall have the right to reply to charges published or aired against them and that they may invoke it to the newspaper, television or radio stations.
As for published election propaganda, the poll body said the maximum size of print advertisements remains to be 1/4 page in broadsheets and 1/2 page in tabloids.
In the midterm polls, the Comelec is also looking to police the online campaign propaganda of candidates for the first time.
In its rules, the Comelec said the maximum size for online materials for each candidate shall be medium (300 width x 250 height); square pop-up (250x250); vertical rectangle (240x400); large rectangle (336x280); rectangle (180x150); 3:1 rectangle (300x100); pop-under (7.20x300); full banner (468x60); half banner (234x60); micro bar (88x31); button 1 (120x90); button 2 (120x60); vertical banner (120x240); square button (125x125); leaderboard (728x90); wide skyscrapers (160x600); skyscraper (120x600); and half-page ad (300x600).
As for the traditional campaign materials, the Comelec said lawful campaign materials include pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written or printed materials the size of which does not exceed 8 ½ inches in width and 14 inches in length; handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or candidate for public office; posters made of cloth, paper, cardboard or any other material, whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding 2 feet by 3 feet; streamers not exceeding 3 feet by 8 feet in size displayed at the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally; and mobile units, vehicles motorcades of all types, whether engine or manpower driven or animal drawn, with or without sound systems or loud speakers and with or without lights.
"Parties and candidates are encouraged to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials and avoid those that contain hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda," said the Comelec.
All candidates are also mandated not to place posters in areas outside the common poster areas that were pre-identified by the local election officers in cities and municipalities, such as plazas, markets, and barangay centers.
They are, on the other hand, barred from placing campaign materials in trees, flowering plants, shrubs located along public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises or in any other public grounds as well as posts, the wall of a building or an existing public structure that is in active use.
According to the Comelec, the aggregate amount that a candidate or party may spend for election campaign shall only be P3 for every voter currently registered in the constituency where the candidate is running, and another P5 from their political parties, while independent candidates may spend P5 for every registered voters.
Comelec records show that there are 52,014,648 registered voters for the May 13 polls.
All candidates are required to file their Statements of Election Contribution and Expenses (SECEs) to the Comelec within 30 days after Election Day containing "the full, true and itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election."
In a related development, Brillantes reminded the administration-led Team PNoy that it cannot shoulder the financing of its candidates' advertisements appearing either in radio or television, particularly those where the whole team is being campaigned.
According to the poll chief, Team PNoy is not a registered coalition with the Comelec, which means they are not qualified to finance campaign expenses of its slate's members.
Team PNoy is composed of the Liberal Party (LP), Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), and the Akbayan Citizens' Action Party (Akbayan).
"They are not entitled to a political party advertisements, which means kung tatlong LP ang lalabas, at three NP… we will charge it to all the parties involved," said Brillantes.
By charging, he said he means that it will cover both the campaign expenditures of the candidates as well as the allowable airtime limit in broadcast election propaganda.
Section 9 of Resolution 9615 states that in cases where two or more candidates are exhibited together in the broadcast election propaganda, "the length of time during which they appear will be counted against the airtime limits allotted for the said candidates, and the cost of the said advertisement will be considered as their expenditures” regardless of who paid for it or whom it was donated for.
The poll chief said that this is not similar to the case of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which had been registered as a coalition with the Comelec.
"Chargeable to UNA as a political coalition duly registered… Party ang magbabayad, chargeable to party time," said Brillantes. (HDT/Sunnex)