Follow rules on rallies, groups told

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) directed candidates organizing public meetings and rallies to Resolution 9615, or the Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Act.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will have its proclamation rally today.

Cebu City North District Election Officer Marchel Sarno, though, qualified that his statements are not specific to the UNA rally but in general, based on the implementing rules and regulations.

Section 28 of the IRR is on the conduct of rallies, meetings and other political activities.

It read, “Subject to the requirements of local ordinances on the issuance of permits, any political party supporting official candidates and parties or any candidate, individually or jointly with other aspirants, may hold peaceful political meetings, rallies or other similar activities during the campaign period.”

The campaign period officially starts today for national candidates.

It was also provided that a party or candidate notifies the election officer concerned of any public rally. The notice should be submitted three days before the rally with the address as well as commitment to submit statement of expenses within seven days.

When asked what he would advice UNA as it formally opens the campaign period with a
rally today, Sarno said, “Just follow Resolution 9615. Get the application permit and notify Comelec. Also, note the other prohibited acts.”

Application permit is filed at the local government unit.

Another prohibited act is the giving of snacks during and within 10 hours of the “public meeting” and the use of transportation whether public or private.

“It is unlawful for any candidate, party or any person to give or accept, free of charge, directly or indirectly, transportation, food and drinks, or anything of value during and within the five hours before and after a public meeting, or to give or contribute, directly or indirectly, money of things of value for such purpose,” section 31 of the IRR read.

When asked if this means that UNA should not give snacks to the participants of the rally today, Sarno said, “Let’s not specify UNA and there is a difference between a rally and public meeting.”

The prohibition on food and drinks, transportation or money only pertains to “public meetings” as opposed to rallies.

But when asked what the difference between the two is, Sarno said it was not indicated in the IRR.

Sarno also clarified an aggrieved party can file a complaint before the Comelec Law Department.
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