Comelec reminds public and candidates of campaign, voting rules

February 6, 2019 - 4:42 PM
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez
In this photo: COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez took notice of those who have filed COCs engaging in more campaigning several months before the start of the campaign period. (File photo)

Commission on Elections Spokesman James Jimenez reminded the public to avoid voting for more than the required number of candidates in the 2019 midterm elections or else their vote will not be counted.

Jimenez had been posting campaign and election rules in a series of tweets days before the official start of the campaign period on February 12.

On February 4, Jimenez told the electorate that they should only vote up to 12 senatorial candidates and one party-list group at the elections.

“I understand it could be a campaign strategy or just good old-fashioned trolling, but don’t tell people to vote for more candidates than required,” he said.

Ballots with excess votes will not be counted, he said in a separate tweet, while the rest will be part of the official tally.

He also shared useful information on the use of campaign materials and resources according to election rules.

The start of the campaign period for national posts is on February 12 while those seeking local seats on March 29.

This excludes Maundy Thursday on April 18 and Good Friday on April 19. The end of the campaign period is on May 11.

The date for the mid-term elections is on May 13.

Additional rules

Comelec also explained the rules on use of social media advertisements stated in the Fair Election Act by virtue of Resolution No. 10488, promulgated on January 30.

“Each registered political party and candidate shall register with the Education and Information Department of the Comelec, the website name and web address of the official blog and/or social media page of such political party or candidate,” Section 8 of the resolution said.

“Any other blog or social media page which, when taken as a whole, has for its primary purpose the endorsement of a candidate, whether or not directly maintained or administered by the candidate or their official campaign representatives, shall be considered additional official blogs or social media pages of the said candidate,” the resolution added.

Jimenez also reiterated in another tweet the provision on the Fair Elections Act concerning the airing of TV shows and movies depicting the lives of political candidates.

Several senatorial aspirants such as Bong Go and Senator Cynthia Villar will have their life stories featured on TV shows on ABS-CBN and GMA on February 9.

“The Fair Elections Act says that candidates can only be held to account for acts and omissions committed after the start of the campaign period,” Jimenez said as a response to an inquiry.

Therefore, all paraphernalia or propaganda that violates the election propaganda requirements should be taken down or removed on the day the campaign period starts.

This includes the biopic of senatorial aspirant Ronald dela Rosa starring Robin Padilla, which was released on January 30.

“Every single bit of campaign propaganda right now will automatically be in violation of campaign rules pagpasok ng Feb 12 for senatorial candidates,” he said.

The poll body will also keep an eye out on campaign posters and the airtime of the political aspirants, Jimenez said.

“Any violation of campaign rules is an electoral offense, and an electoral offense is punishable among other things by disqualification,” he said.