Follow campaign guidelines to avoid legal repercussions

By Rosalie O. Abatayo and Jessa Mae O. Sotto May 02,2018

CANDIDATES TOLD:

The Commission of Elections (Comelec) has reminded candidates of the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to strictly abide by the campaign guidelines to avoid legal repercussions, as the campaign period officially opens on Friday, May 4.

The campaign guidelines set by the Fair Elections Act and the Omnibus Election Code include among others, the designation of a common poster area and the approved sizes of campaign materials.

Campaign posters or tarpaulins should be at most six square feet or two by three feet, while leaflets and fliers should measure not more than eight and a half by 14 inches.

Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said that the installation of campaign posters on trees, electric posts and bridges is strictly prohibited.

Castillano added that he has already directed the Election Officers (EOs) in every municipality to call the attention of candidates who violate the campaign guidelines.

“They [EOs] will write to the candidate for him to take it down kung illegal ba sa sizes or illegal ang gibutangan. If within three days he will not take it down, that will constitute to a prima facie evidence nga siya nagpabutang ana (that he ordered that to be put up),” said Castillano.

He said that the EOs are directed to document if there will be such cases, to be used as a basis for the filing of charges for violation of the Fair Elections Act and the Omnibus Election Code.

Castillano also warned the public not to destroy posters of candidates even if they are not compliant with the prescribed poster sizes or if they are installed outside the common poster area.

“Ang makatangtang ra gyod kay ang kandidato kung iyaha na, ug ang Comelec kung naka-violate siya,” said Castillano.

Castillano added that owners of private properties where posters were put up also have the discretion to remove them.

“Remember, allowed lang sa private property with the consent of the owner,” explained Castillano.

Enough materials

Meanwhile, the Comelec assured that there are enough materials for the Barangay and SK Elections which is set to happen in two weeks.

Castillano said that they have already resolved the lack of ballot boxes in some election offices.

“Katong mga nagkuwang (of ballot boxes), kuhaon man na nato sa uban nga mga municipalities. Okay na ta ana. Ang katong kuhaanan pod nga mga lugar, nitubag pod sila nga ready na, ang pagkuha na lang,” said Castillano. (The lacking ballot boxes in some areas will be outsourced from other municipalities. That has been arranged already and those from whom the materials will be outsourced are only waiting for the needing election offices to fetch them.)

Comelec Cebu also conducted an election simulation training with EOs on Tuesday, May 1, where they demonstrated the election process based on the general instructions for the conduct of the elections and gave a refresher course on ballot appreciation.

Castillano said that although this is already the second time that they have conducted a training seminar with the EOs, there were still a lot of questions that surfaced during their training.

The election officers who underwent the training will also conduct an echo seminar to the members of the electoral boards in their respective municipalities starting today, May 3, until May 11.

Still considered candidates

Castillano also said that the 267 candidates who have been recommended for disqualification are still considered as candidates until the Comelec en banc issues a resolution voiding their candidacies.

Castillano said that considering the number of disqualification cases raised nationwide, the resolution would most likely come out after the actual elections in May 14.

He said that if a disqualified candidate would win in the elections, he would still be directed to step down once the resolution comes out.
Castillano clarified that the disqualified candidates will still be given a chance to contest their disqualification as part of their right to due process.

He added that the opponent of the disqualified candidate who gained the second most number of votes will then be proclaimed the winner.

Most of those disqualified are vying for SK posts who failed to meet the age requirement.

Under the SK Reform Law of 2015, while all registered voters aged 15 to 30 are allowed to vote, only those who are 18 to 24 are allowed to run.

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