Comelec to spray paint over candidates’ photos on public buses
MANILA, Philippines – Candidates may have gotten away with placing their campaign ads on public buses but the Commission on Elections has a simple solution to this come Tuesday, when the campaign period officially begins: paint over the candidates’ photos.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told Radyo Inquirer in an interview on Monday that his agency was prepared to impose regulations which fall under Republic Act 9006 of the Fair Elections Act and this includes prohibiting campaign materials from being placed on public vehicles.
“Medyo naabuso na walang premature campaigning noon, ngayon ho kami naman. Fair warning sa lahat, pinaulit-ulit ko na ho yan. Sundin nyo ang batas; kami naman ang magbabantay sa inyo (The rule against premature campaigning has been abused, so it’s our turn to act. We’ve repeatedly issued fair warning to all. Obey the law; we will be watching you) ,” he said.
He said they expected public vehicles to be free of campaign materials as “all vehicles falling under public utilities are supposed to be our partners which is why we need their cooperation.”
“Campaign ads should not be placed on public vehicles. There’s no problem if they use private vehicles,” Brillantes pointed out.
He said their officers would be on the lookout for buses with campaign ads and with the help of traffic officers, would have such vehicles pulled over to spray paint over the candidates’ photos.
“We will coordinate with the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) and traffic, we will have the buses pull over so our officers can spray paint over the candidates’ photos,” said Brillantes.
But painting over the campaign ads would be done to send a message.
Brillantes said they would issue a three-day notice for candidates and the bus firms to take down campaign ads. “After three days and the [ads are still there] we can charge the candidate or we can give the public utility [vehicle operator] a warning that we will file a complaint with the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) to have them suspended.”
For now, he said such regulations would only apply to national candidates but come March 29, local candidates will also fall under the restrictions of RA 9006.