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Comelec to Valte: ‘Ban’ for gov’t execs from campaigning ‘a good rule’

/ 05:25 PM February 04, 2016

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) stood its ground after a Palace spokesperson lamented that the poll body is implementing “martial law” for supposedly barring government officials from campaigning for candidates in the May elections.

In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that the “ban” on government officials from posting about candidates is a “good rule.”

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READ: Comelec reminds gov’t execs: Campaign for candidates, face raps

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the provision stated in Section 1, number 4 (e) of Resolution No. 10049, is a form pf censorship and prior restraint on government employees.

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The said provision read: “Personal opinions, views, and preferences for candidates contained in blogs or microblogs shall not be considered as acts of election campaigning or partisan political activity unless expressed by government officials in the Executive and Legislative Departments, Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions and the members of the Civil Service.”

“As a general rule, we don’t want employees of the civil service to be giving the impression that they are for or against any particular candidate. I don’t think Sec. Valte has to be alarmed,” Jimenez said.

The Comelec official said that the provision, which was first issued by the poll body in Resolution No. 9615 in 2013, is a “rational application” of laws and jurisprudence.

On the claim of Valte that the Comelec is imposing censorship, Jimenez said that public officials are subjected to higher standards of values and conduct.

“Public servants are a breed apart. We are subject to separate and more stringent standards, I believe–higher standards of behavior (and) higher standards of conduct.”

“If during the election period, some sort of restriction is placed on speech, that would not, I think, run afoul of free speech, in general,” Jimenez maintained.

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TAGS: Abigail Valte, campaign, campaign period, candidate, Comelec, Elections2016
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