Candidates vying for seats in the Senate and House of Representatives have less than 20 days to remove their names and faces from the sides of buses and other vehicles, as well as from public places, or risk disqualification and a jail term of up to six years.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday reminded candidates for national posts that, under the law, election propaganda that is prohibited must be removed before the start of the campaign period on Feb. 12.
As for candidates for local government positions, they have more than a month to comply with the law as the campaign period for the local elections starts on March 30.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 9615, which lists the rules and regulations implementing the Fair Election Act, all prohibited forms of election propaganda shall be removed by the candidate or party concerned or they will be presumed to have committed an election offense.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said illegal forms of propaganda included names, images, logos, brands, insignias, color motifs, initials and other forms of identifiable graphical representation placed by candidates on a public structures or places.
Campaign posters and banners mounted on government vehicles, public buses, jeepneys, trains, taxis, ferries and tricycles, and those placed on the premises of public terminals, also constitute an election offense punishable by disqualification from holding public office, a prison term of one to six years and loss of the right to vote.
“We are issuing this call to all candidates: Please remove all prohibited forms of election propaganda before the start of the campaign period. Failure to comply constitutes an election offense,” said Brillantes.
In an interview on the sidelines of a Catholic Media Network forum on Tuesday, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll agency would issue a two-week notice to candidates to give them ample time to comply with the campaign rule.
He said the commission would strictly monitor compliance through task forces to be set up in every town and city in the country.
“The election officer in every town has the power to create a task force so the monitoring will primarily fall under them… the EOs will ultimately have the responsibility to make sure [the rule is complied with],” Jimenez told reporters.