Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes on Sunday vowed to crack down on erring candidates who continue to flaunt election rules regarding illegal campaigning and illegal campaign materials.
Brillantes said that local candidates were able to illegally post their campaign materials before because the Comelec could go after them only after the start of the election campaign period for local candidates on Black Saturday (March 30).
“You (local candidates) just posted everywhere your propaganda materials even before the start of the campaign period since you (were) not prohibited… It is now our turn to be strict with regards to your campaigning,” Brillantes said, addressing the candidates.
“We have instructed our people to start sending notices to take down illegally placed posters and campaign materials by April 1,” he added.
Under Comelec rules, political parties and candidates may post their campaign materials only in authorized common poster areas in public places and in private places as long as they have the consent of the owner.
Violators can be charged with committing an election offense, which is punishable by one to six years imprisonment, loss of the right to vote, and being barred from public office.
Brillantes said he wanted the notices sent out as early as Monday so that the Comelec could immediately weed out those who refuse to follow campaign rules.
“If they do not follow, we can already start the process (of filing charges against them),” Brillantes said.
Erring candidates are given three days to remove their illegal posters. If they fail to do so, the Comelec would begin filing charges against them.
Up for grabs in local elections are 233 seats in the House of Representatives and the positions for 80 governors; 80 vice governors; 766 provincial board members; 143 city mayors; 143 city vice mayors; 1,598 city councilors; 1,491 municipal mayors; 1,491 municipal vice mayors; and 11,932 municipal councilors.