THE Commission on Elections (Comelec), in its resolution dated February 26, decided to extend to five days the usual 48-hour or two-day liquor ban prior to the elections.
Comelec assistant regional director Reddy Balarbar said the resolution is timely, adding that election-related violence is on its peak during the homestretch of the campaign leading to the Election Day due to numerous campaign rallies and early celebrations of some candidates.
Liquor ban shall take effect from May 9 to May 13, the Election Day.
Comelec resolution 9582 prohibits any person, including owners and managers of hotels and establishments, to sell, furnish, offer, buy, serve, or take intoxicating liquor anywhere in the Philippines.
Violation of the liquor or alcohol ban is considered an election offense and is punishable with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation.
The guilty party shall also suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage, the resolution stated.
Hotels and other establishments duly certified by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as tourist-oriented and habitually in the business of catering to foreign tourists may be exempted from the liquor ban, provided, they secure prior written authority upon showing that there are justifiable reasons for their exemption.
Only foreign tourists taking intoxicating liquor in authorized hotels or establishments are exempted from the ban.
The exemption granted by Comelec may be revoked through petition of any interested party on showing the reason upon which the exemption was made does not exist or is not justifiable, or that the requesting party or applicant has committed misrepresentation in the application, or introduced or submitted falsified documents.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Regional Election Directors, Provincial Election Supervisors, Election Officers, and the Comelec Election Laws Enforcement Team, which will be fielded by the commission, shall implement the liquor ban. (JM Agreda)