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COMELEC DISMAYED OVER WIDESPREAD PRESENCE OF ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN MATERIALS AT START OF CAMPAIGN SEASON

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expressed disappointment over the prevalence of illegal campaign materials at the start of the election campaign for national positions on Tuesday.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez noted that the illegal posting of election materials are very visible despite the numerous warnings and reminders on the matter issued by the poll body.

“It’s disappointing to see that many (violations), such as those nailed to trees. Again, that is very disappointing. I don’t think the Comelec was amiss, nor the people, in reminding candidates of our disdain against such practices,” he said in a press conference.

Jimenez added that they have been receiving reports, including those from their deputized agencies like the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), regarding numerous violations of election campaign rules.

With this, he warned that they will give erring candidates three days to take down the illegally-placed campaign materials.

Candidates who will fail to comply with the order will be summoned by the poll body.

“We will submit them to the Law Department for evaluations, whether or not they can be cited for violations of the Omnibus Election Code, whether or not they are electoral offenses, in other words,” he added.

With this, the Comelec official reiterated his call to the public to report these violations to the poll body or post them on social media with the hashtag ‘#SumbongKo’.

“What is important is that the materials are documented and once they are documented, then, we can take them down as a form of abasement, as well,” Jimenez added.

Other election violations may also be reported to the Comelec such as raffles, contests, and other activities that promise cash prizes or gift items.

Meanwhile, Jimenez reminded candidates that conducted kick-off rallies on Tuesday to immediately take down their streamers posted in their respective venues.

“Dear candidates holding kick-off rallies, propaganda material you’ve put up for the event must be taken down within 24 hours after your event,” he said.

Under Comelec Resolution No. 10049, streamers for the public meeting or rallies may be displayed five days before the date of the meeting and should be removed within 24 hours after the event.

Campaign violations constitute an election offense, which carries the penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification from holding public office. PNA / northboundasia.com

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