MANILA — Although the start of the campaign period is set on March 25, which falls on Good Friday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has reminded that candidates running for local positions in the May 9 polls are only allowed to begin campaigning on Saturday, March 26.
“Local campaigns start March 25, but they should actually start campaigning on March 26 (Holy Saturday) because campaigning is prohibited on Good Friday,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in an interview.
Based on Comelec Resolution No. 9981, the campaign period for local candidates, or those running for congressman, governor, vice governor, board members, mayor, vice mayor, and councilors, will run from March 25 to May 7.
It noted that campaigning on Good Friday is prohibited under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7166.
Jimenez explained that they did not move the start of the campaign period for local candidates as they are abiding by the law.
“It is stated in the law that the campaign period is 45 days before Election Day. So, it is a mathematical formula. If you count the days, it will fall on March 25. It is part of the intention of the law that does not factor in when that date will fall, even if it is during Lent,” the poll body official said.
With this, Jimenez reminded local bets that all prohibited campaign materials must be removed 72 hours before Saturday.
“Whatever prohibited campaign materials they have now, they should have them removed or else they can be charged with election offense come March 25,” he added.
Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10049, all prohibited forms of election propaganda shall be removed or caused to be removed by concerned candidates or political parties at least 72 hours before the start of the campaign period or else face election offense cases.
At the same time, Jimenez urged the public to be vigilant against illegal campaign materials of local bets, including those that are oversize and illegally-placed.
“Ultimately, we want to talk to the public. The voters should be the ones that must be angry if they see campaign violations of those running. We need the help because with the high number of those running, we expect to have a difficult time in the enforcement aspect,” Jimenez said. Ferdinand Patinio/PNA / northboundasia.com