Annoying jingles top complaint in village polls
Blaring campaign jingles are drawing the most complaints from the public in connection with the Oct. 28 barangay polls, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
But unfortunately, being noisy and annoying is not an election offense, said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.
“The most complaints we have received are about the noise, with some starting as early as 5 a.m. But we don’t have regulations against it,” Jimenez said Tuesday in the weekly media forum at Mabuhay Restop organized by the Manila City Hall Press Club.
Netizens in particular railed at campaign vehicles with sound systems in full blast as they cruise around the neighborhood. Katt Pascual, for example, posted on Facebook: “These schmucks scandalize our neighborhood with a year’s worth of novelty songs and call it campaigning. It’s criminally offensive.”
Jimenez said the other common complaints were about oversized posters and their placement outside designated areas, as well as obvious signs of overspending on the part of the candidates.
“It’s still our big problem: Oversized posters, wrong location, littering, illegal posting on trees and the use of overhead cables,” Jimenez said.
The prescribed size for posters and tarpaulins for the barangay election campaign is two feet by three feet, he stressed.
“We are monitoring reports of overspending. Those candidates who make people dance or give away T-shirts,” he added. ‘’But we need to do some fact-finding here because, although you can see the big expenditures, ultimately you have to prove it based on receipts that you can find. These are all under investigation.”
Unfortunately, he said, time had rendered obsolete the law setting the “election spending limit at P5 per voter.”
Aside from setting a very low amount, “it did not take into consideration the relative prosperity of some barangays,” Jimenez said.
The Comelec spokesperson reminded the candidates that they are not allowed to receive support from political parties, government officials and agencies.
“Campaign flyers that show the faces of incumbent mayors, councilors or congressmen can merit an investigation and the filing of charges,” he said. “Perhaps the public can document them for submission to the Comelec, and the Comelec will run after (the liable candidates).”
While it is not illegal to solicit campaign funds from private individuals, the amounts given should be reflected in the statement of contributions and expenditures, and their total should not exceed the spending limit of P5 per voter, according to Jimenez.