THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) once again reminded national candidates to observe campaign guidelines or else face possible disqualification cases.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the team they dispatched saw and documented huge billboards and streamers of candidates Senator Noynoy Aquino (Roxas Blvd. corner Vito Cruz), Gilbert Teodoro (EDSA Southbound), Joseph Estrada and Jejomar Binay (EDSA North Ave., PhilAm), Senator Richard Gordon and Bayani Fernando (EDSA Cubao, and in Shell North Luzon Tollway, Barangay Burol Balagtas, Bulacan); Senators Manny Villar and Lito Lapid (EDSA corner Reliance street); Atty. JV Bautista (EDSA near NEPA Q-Mart); and Rey Langit (in front of MMDA Office near EDSA Guadalupe).
The campaign period for national candidates started last February 9.
“We saw two kinds of violations from many of those posters we've seen. Either they were oversized or out of place. If it’s oversized usually it’s also out of place. The others meanwhile if not oversized, are still out of place,” Jimenez told reporters Friday.
He added that some of the candidates found violating campaign rules were not expected since they claim to be "staunch advocates" of obeying the law.
Comelec's education and information department (EID), which Jimenez heads, has already forwarded the evidence and their recommendations to the poll body's legal department Friday afternoon.“We will submit this report to the law department so that the law department can, if they feel it is necessary, initiate legal action," said Jimenez.
He cleared that concerned citizens should file a case with the Comelec so that appropriate actions can be taken.
“How can we on our own file the case if ultimately we should decide if it is a violation...we can't be both the accuser and the judge,” Jimenez stressed.
Under the campaign rules of the commission, those who will fail to observe the law may face disqualification from their political bids.
The candidates will be given a three-day grace period upon notice from the commission to take down the unlawful campaign paraphernalia.
Although the poll body is aware that some candidates may claim they do not have knowledge over the illegal materials credited to them, Jimenez said this will not be taken as an excuse.
“When you benefit from the proceeds or whatever might good might come out of unlawful activity then I suppose that makes your enjoyment unlawful as well,” he said.
“If ignorance of the law is no excuse. What do you call full knowledge of the law when you have even less excuse to violate it. Eventually, these people will have to deal with the possibility of disqualification,” he furthered.
Comelec will soon be posting the list of common poster areas per city in their website to help remind national and local candidates where they should place their campaign materials.
Jimenez said the law is “very clear” that candidates may only post their campaign materials in designated common poster areas and that these materials should also follow the sizes determined by the commission through the Fair Elections Act.
Posters should not exceed two feet by three feet while streamers should be no more than three feet by eight feet.
Unlawful campaign materials may be reported to the following hotline numbers: 525-9302, 525-9297, 525-9345, 525-9296, 525-9335, 525-9294, 527-5575 and 527-0821. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)