Billboards among Comelec’s targets

STARTING next Tuesday, Feb. 12, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will remove campaign materials posted outside the designated common poster areas.

Candidates for governor down to municipal councilors and district representatives, though, can still do whatever they want before the campaign period for local political aspirants starts on March 29.

In an interview Monday, Feb. 4, Acting Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Jerome Brillantes said they will start Oplan Baklas operations once the campaign period for senatorial candidates and party-list groups starts on Feb. 12.

“But before we remove their (illegally posted) campaign materials, we will first give them a notice to get rid of them voluntarily. But as of now, most likely, local candidates are still free to do what they want,” he said.

Section 9 of Republic Act 9006, or the Fair Elections Act, states that the Comelec may authorize political parties and party-list groups to establish common poster areas for their candidates in not more than 10 public places such as plazas, markets and barangay centers, among others, wherein candidates can post, display or exhibit election propaganda.

The size of the poster areas shall not exceed 12 by 16 feet or its equivalent.

Independent candidates without political parties, on the other hand, may be authorized to put up common poster areas in not more than 10 public places, the size of which shall not exceed four by six feet or its equivalent.

Candidates may also post lawful propaganda materials in private places provided they are given consent by the owner.

It is the Comelec that will investigate and prosecute those that will be accused of posting in prohibited areas.

Brillantes said the use of oversized billboards as campaign materials is illegal, so these will be taken down.

“That’s one of the campaign materials that we will remove. The Oplan Baklas team will compose of the Comelec, the police, fire department, and City or Municipal Engineers,” he added.

The Comelec will give candidates three days to voluntarily remove their oversized, illegally posted campaign materials.

“If they fail to get it within three days and if there is no response, we will take it as presumption of consent. After that, we can file cases against them for their election offense,” Brillantes said. (RTF)


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