Take ’em down!
The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC) reminded candidates earlier today to remove prohibited campaign materials that violate election laws at least three days before the start of the official campaign period.
The campaign period for national candidates starts tomorrow while it starts on March 29 for candidates vying for local positions. The period ends for all on May 11.
COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said in a statement released earlier today that candidates or parties that do not comply “shall be presumed to have committed the pertinent election offense during said campaign period for national and local candidates, as the case may be.”
Illegal forms of election propaganda include those that are put up outside common poster areas, in public places, and in private properties without the owner’s consent.
Other campaign materials prohibited are those placed on government-owned public transport vehicles and government offices as well as materials that don’t meet the specified sizes under the law, ABS-CBN News reported.
It’s common in the Philippines for candidates to start campaigning early ever since the Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that premature campaigning isn’t an election offense anymore. However, it is still frowned upon.
This was recently seen during the feast of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo in January, the grandest religious event in the country. The much-anticipated event is attended by millions of devotees walking a crowded procession’s route.
While it’s supposed to be a solemn religious activity, many devotees came across candidates’ posters plastered all over the route.
Jimenez said of the incident: “What is one day to just give Filipinos a chance to focus on this very important part of their community life?”
The mid-term election is scheduled for May 13.