MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, March 6, reminded candidates to register their official social media pages for the upcoming May polls as it released an initial list of Senate aspirants, party-list groups, and political parties that have complied with the requirement.
In a notice to candidates, the poll body said based on data as of Wednesday, March 6, only 13 of the 62 senatorial candidates and 23 of the 134 party-list groups running in the 2019 elections, and two political parties have submitted information on their online pages to the Comelec.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said while no deadline was set for the requirement, failure to comply may constitute an election offense under Comelec Resolution 10488 – the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic No. Act 2019 or the Fair Elections Act, in connection with the May 13 elections.
Asked if candidates may face an election offense if they don’t comply with the requirement, Jimenez said in a text reply to Rappler, “Possible, yes, because of the catch-all provision of Reso 10488.”
Jimenez was referring to Section 37 of Comelec Resolution 10488 on election offenses.
The Comelec earlier set new rules for social media posts and online ads during the campaign period to monitor paid posts supporting a candidate.
Under the new rules, paid influencers would also be required to report payments for their posts whether for or against a candidate. ([OPINION] What are the limits of Comelec’s social media monitoring?)
According to the poll body, those who have submitted requirements to the Comelec as of March 6 are the following:
- Sergio Osmeña III
- Nancy Binay
- Danilo Roleda
- Pia Cayetano
- Cynthia Villar
- Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr
- Jose Manuel Diokno
- Paolo Benigno Aquino IV
- Florin Hilbay
- Manuel Roxas II
- Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel
- Rodrigo “Jiggy” Manicad Jr
- Willie Ong
- Act Teachers
- Agri Agra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng Pilipinas Movement
- Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party
- Ako Bisdak
- Bayan Muna
- Luntiang Pilipinas
- Movement for Economic Transformation and Righteous Opportunities
- Murang Kuryente
- OFW Family
- Tribal Communities Association of the Philippines
- Wow Pilipinas
The list also included political parties Aksyon Demokratiko and the United Nationalist Alliance.
Under Comelec Resolution 10488, each registered political party and candidate are required to register with the Comelec their website name and web address of their official blog and/or social media page.
The Comelec will also consider as additional official blogs or social media pages other blogs or social media pages with the primary purpose of endorsing a candidate, “whether or not directly maintained or administered by the candidate of their official campaign representative.”
The Comelec said its social media rules were crafted to monitor candidates’ spending and were not intended to limit freedom of expression. – Rappler.com