Comelec reminds bets: Remove illegal campaign materials

CEBU. Local election personnel lead the removal of illegally posted and oversized election paraphernalia in Mandaue City last month. This month, acting Cebu Provincial Election supervisor Jerome Brillantes is set to convene all election officers in the Province to conduct another set of "Oplan Baklas" due to the failure of some local and national candidates from removing their illegally posted and oversized posters. (Fe Marie Dumaboc)

DESPITE earlier reminders, local and national candidates for the May 13 elections continue to post campaign materials outside the designated areas, while some posters are oversized.

Cebu Provincial Elections Supervisor Jerome Brillantes said they have observed that most of the violators are local candidates, especially now that the campaign period for local bets has officially started.

"Pero wala pa tay mga nasilutan because we're waiting for the Comelec en banc to issue a resolution on the matter. Our regional director wants us to conduct Oplan Baklas simultaneously within the second or third week of April," he added.

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 their election paraphernalia in 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 Commission on Elections (Comelec) that will investigate and prosecute those that will be accused of posting in prohibited areas.

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

Brillantes said he and all the election officers in Cebu Province will have a closed-door meeting on Thursday, April 4, to discuss the conduct of Oplan Baklas and security measures for the polls, among others.

Illegally posted and oversized campaign materials that were removed during the conduct of Oplan Baklas will be kept under Comelec custody for an inventory report, which will be submitted to the central office for "evidentiary purposes."


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