MABALACAT CITY — An officer of the Commission on Elections has warned candidates of the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) against premature campaigning.
Mabalacat City Election Officer Joie Maccam explained that once an individual files a certificate of candidacy for the BSKE, he or she is automatically considered a candidate.
“There is no need to wait for the campaign period to be considered a candidate. So, from September 3 to October 18, candidates are not allowed to engage in campaigning, otherwise [they] will be charged for pre-maturing campaigning,” Maccam said during the Pampanga Press Club’s News at Hues at Park Inn by Radisson Clark on September 19.
Premature campaigning is considered an election offense that may result in a candidate’s disqualification, Maccam said.
It applies to all kinds of platforms including social media, he added.
Maccam said the campaign period is set from October 19 to October 28, while the election day is set on October 30 from 7AM to 3PM only.
He said prohibited acts during the campaign period include removing, destroying, obliterating, defacing, tampering, or preventing distribution of lawful election propaganda; posting, displaying, distributing, and using illegal campaign materials; release, disbursement, or expenditures of public funds; making any donation or gift in cash or in kind; appointing or using special policemen, special/confidential agents or the like; using armored land, water, or aircraft; and policemen and provincial guards acting as bodyguards of public officials or candidates.
The election officer also enumerated other prohibited acts during the election period (August 28 to November 29, 2023) including a gun ban, use of security personnel or bodyguards by candidates, vote-buying and vote-selling, wagering on the result of the elections, and suspension of local elective officials.
Maccam has advised the public to report violations before the Comelec.
In Pampanga, there are a total of 23,151 candidates for the upcoming BSKE.