Comelec to check compliance of campaign offenders-A A +A
Sunday, February 24, 2013
AN OFFICIAL of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Sunday they are already checking if any of the candidates and party-list groups allegedly engaged in illegal posting of campaign materials have already complied with the law.
“Comelec team is out, right now, checking up on the illegal materials that were the subject of the notices already sent out,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez on his Twitter account (@jabjimenez).
Last week, the Comelec law department sent out notices regarding illegal size/posting of campaign materials to senatorial candidates Risa Hontiveros, Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn, Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño and Aurora Representative Sonny Angara.
Also notified were Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA); Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay); 1 Joint Alliance of Marginalized Group, Inc. (1JAMG); Piston Lang Transportation Coalition, Inc. (Piston); Kabataan; LPG Marketers Association, Inc. (LPGMA); Anak Mindanao; and Sanlakas.
Responding to the Comelec directive, Kabataan president Terry Ridon said his members have removed campaign posters in areas such as Taft Avenue and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila.
He said several teams also made ocular inspections in major roads to ensure that all illegally-posted materials are taken down.
Under Comelec Resolution 9615, parties and candidates may post any lawful campaign material only in authorized common poster areas such as barangay halls and basketball courts and in private places provided it has the consent of the owner.
However, Kabataan said the common poster areas are not frequented by the general public.
“If grassroots partylists are not allowed to set up additional posting areas situated in more visible areas, the essence of fairness in the Fair Elections Act will be lost…pera pera na lang ulit. Kung sinong makakabili ng airtime sa TV at radyo, yun ang mas makakaluwag sa kampanya,” said Ridon.
Violation of the said resolution entails an election offense, which carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and prohibition to occupy public office.
“Sa mga party-list organizations, not only election offense cases but we will also cancel their registration if they will be insistent on putting up these campaign materials in illegal locations,” said Comelec law department Director Esmeralda Ladra.
Section 6 of Republic Act 7941 provides that the Comelec may cancel the registration of a party list group if “it violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections”.
Meanwhile, Ladara said they are also preparing for the campaign period for local bets since they are more notorious with regards to violating rules on lawful posting of propaganda materials.
“We already have experienced in the past na pagdating sa local, pati mga kahoy, poste, nagwawagayway ang mga illegal posters nila diyan,” she said.
The campaign period for local candidates will begin on March 30. (HDT/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)