Comelec warns bets: We’ll be watching what you spend
JUST like a ticking taxi meter, the countdown on political expenses in the May elections begins today (Tuesday), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Monday.
“It is the official start of the campaign period but as you know many things have been happening in the past several months [that resembles] campaigning but really the difference is the meter starts to run in respect of their expenditures,” said Comelec Chair Andres Bautista at a press conference.
He added that the Comelec’s campaign finance office, headed by Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, will start monitoring all the candidates’ expenditures on campaign ads and other election paraphernalia to make sure that they do not exceed what is provided by law.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 9981, candidates and registered political parties for national elective posts are allowed no more than a total of 120 minutes of TV ads on a per station basis and 180 minutes of radio commercials, also on a per station basis, whether by purchase or donation.
Candidates can only post their banners on the common poster areas designated by the Comelec. Election campaign materials outside authorized common poster areas, in public places and in private properties without the consent of the owner are considered illegal.
Violations of campaign rules constitute an election offense, which carries a penalty of one to six years’ jail term, loss of the right to vote and disqualification from public office.
The poll body has also deputized the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Commission on Audit and Bureau of Internal Revenue to assist officials in monitoring candidates’ compliance with campaign finance laws.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Monday reminded candidates to conduct their campaigns with dignity by not polluting the environment with cuss words and dirty tricks, avoiding violence, and respecting themselves and their rivals.
“Give due dignity to your person by conducting a daily examination of conscience to realize that you were made in the image and likeness of God,” said PPCRV Chair Henrietta de Villa.