MANILA, Philippines — As the campaign period for national positions in the May elections officially kicked off Tuesday, Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes warned candidates they face the “full force of the law” for violating the rules on posting propaganda and airtime limits.
“Paalala ko lamang na magsisimula na … ang campaign period, at magsisimula na rin kami kaagad sa implementasyon ng election laws on campaigning (I am reminding that the campaign period will start and we will also immediately start implementing the elections laws on campaigning),” Brillantes said at a press conference.
He said he expected banned propaganda such as product endorsements by candidates and their pictures on vehicles and buildings to be removed by Tuesday, when Comelec personnel will begin going around the country to monitor compliance.
“I keep on telling the senatorial candidates (about) premature campaigning, but now that the campaign period has started, they should follow the law,” the Comelec chair said.
Once a violation has been determined, Brillantes said a candidate has three days from receipt of the notice from Comelec to remove the illegal campaign material.
Brillantes also urged candidates to inform the Comelec in advance of scheduled radio or television interviews and other appearances.
“Prior notice is only for programmed and scheduled interviews, regular newscasting is not covered,” he explained. “But (for) invitation(s) to guest (and) reprogramming (of previous interviews or newscasts), they should notify us,” he said.
However, he clarified that the Comelec only wants to ensure fair play and has no intention of preventing any of these from airing.
“Hindi naman namin sinasabi na bawal ito, pero sinasabi namin na we are monitoring. Bakit palagi ito ang nai-interview ng istasyon na ito, ito ang palaging iniimbita? Teka naman, baka gusto naman ninyong palitan, bakit siya na lamang nang siya (We are not saying this is banned, but we are saying we are monitoring. Why is this candidates always interviewed and invited by this station? Wait, you might want to change your guest, why is it always the same candidate)? ” Brillantes said.
By: Ernie Reyes, InterAksyon.com