With campaign activities in 2022 expected to draw crowds despite the pandemic, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has come up with a system that assigns the forms of physical campaigning allowed according to the risk category level of a particular locality.
The task of deciding the category levels will be at the hands of a seemingly powerful new group that will be convened for this unprecedented election season.
Meet the CCC, short for the Comelec campaign committee.
Who are they?
The CCC is a Comelec brainchild that was born out of the pandemic. Multiple government agencies comprise the committee, with someone from the poll body as its chairperson. There are CCCs from the national level, down to the municipal level.
The table below details the composition of CCCs, according to Comelec Resolution 10732 that was released on Thursday, November 25.
How does the category classification work?
The national CCC is the one that sets the category levels of regions, provinces, cities, and municipalities, and reviews them every 14 days, or when necessary.
City- and municipal-level CCCs may raise the category level in their jurisdiction through a unanimous vote, but they may not lower the category level imposed by the national CCC.
Provincial CCCs, meanwhile, may decide on any request of candidates or political parties to reconsider a reclassification made by the municipal- or city-level CCC. In the event of inaction after 48 hours or unfavorable decision by the provincial CCC, the candidate may bring the matter to the regional CCC, which must make an unappealable decision within 72 hours.
How about the approval of campaign permits?
CCCs’ tasks include approving or rejecting candidates’ applications for the conduct of a campaign activity.
A CCC which received application papers for a campaign activity must grant or deny the request within 48 hours. The application is considered approved if the CCC does not act within that time frame.
Here’s where particular candidates can file their application.
If, for example, a candidate’s request is denied by the city CCC, they may file an appeal before the next-level CCC, which in this case is the provincial-level committee. The concerned CCC must make a decision “within a non-extendible period of 24 hours from receipt thereof.”
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez has said that a request for campaign permit can only be denied “if a prior permit has been applied for or granted for the same location and the same time.”
Do CCCs have other tasks?
CCCs also have the responsibility of monitoring and preparing reports on the conduct of election campaigns, drawing from reports submitted by barangay officials.
This is significant because the resolution noted that violators of provisions of the Omnibus Election Code may be punished with at least one-year prison sentence or disqualification from public office. The Department of Health, as a CCC member, may also go after violators of minimum public health standards.
Take note that there are no candidates until the campaign season begins, which means that early campaigning is not prohibited.
The provisions in the Comelec resolution will be enforced once the campaign period for national positions starts in February 2022. – Rappler.com