Comelec to open citizens’ watch vs poll violatorsBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – Do you see a candidate violating election campaign rules and regulations? Report it to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and they will immediately check and act on any valid complaints.
“Isumbong mo sa Comelec [Telll it to Comelec],” Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Friday about an advertisement that would come out before February 12, the start of the campaign period for the midterm elections in May.
“Maguumpisa na ang kampanya sa Febuary 12, kung merong mga violations diyan sa campaign, meron ho kayong makita, isumbong niyo ho sa Comelec at kami na ho ang bahala sa kanila,” Brillantes said, sharing his script in the advertisement.
Some of the violations that he would be watching out for would be incorrect poster sizes, non-placement of posters in common areas, excess airtime limit, among others.
Those who have something to report are not required to provide evidence such as pictures, or videos, and are not even required to personally appear to give their report, said Brillantes.
“Kung gusto magpresenta ng ebidensya, sa hearing na lang. Magsumbong lang, pwede itawag at kami na bahala ichecheck namin at kung may basis aaksyunan natin,” Brillantes said.
“We are simply asking for help from the people to report any possible campaign violations,” he said.
Complainants may report by submitting a letter, sending text messages, calling their office, going to the Comelec office, approaching any of the election officers, provincial election supervisors, or regional directors, Brillantes said, adding, “Comelec is all over the country.”
According to Comelec Resolution 9615 on campaign rules and regulations, election propaganda allowed are:
* Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written or printed materials the size of which does not exceed eight and one-half inches (8 ½”) in width and fourteen inches (14”) in length;
* Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or candidate for public office;
* Posters made of cloth, paper, cardboard or any other material, whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding two feet (2′) by three feet (3′); and
* Streamers not exceeding three feet (3’) by eight feet (8’) in size displayed at the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally. Said streamers may be displayed five (5) days before the date of the meeting or rally and shall be removed within twenty-four (24) hours after said meeting or rally;
Election propaganda are prohibited in the following:
* Electronic announcement boards, such as LED display boards located along highways and streets, LCD TV displays posted on walls of public buildings, and other similar devices which are owned by local government units, government-owned and controlled corporations, or any agency or instrumentality of the Government;
* Motor vehicles used as patrol cars, ambulances, and other similar purposes that are owned by local government units, government-owned and controlled corporations, and other agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, particularly those bearing red license plates;
* Waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lamp posts, electric posts and wires, traffic signages and other signboards erected on public property, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, flyovers and underpasses, bridges, main thoroughfares, center islands of roads and highways;
Schools, shrines, barangay halls, health centers, public structures and buildings or any edifice thereof;
* Public utility vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, trains, taxi cabs, ferries, pedicabs and tricycles, whether motorized or not;
* Within the premises of public transport terminals, such as bus terminals, airports, seaports, docks, piers, train stations, and the like.
The resolution also provides the following provisions:
* Parties and candidates are hereby encouraged to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials and avoid those that contain hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda. In local government units where local legislation governing the use of plastic and other similar materials exist, parties and candidates shall comply with the same.
* All propaganda must “bear and be identified by the reasonably legible, or audible words “political advertisement paid for”.
* It is prohibited “to post, display or exhibit any election campaign or propaganda material outside of authorized common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the consent of the owner thereof.”
A directory of Comelec field offices can be found at http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=ContactUs/NCROffices