Mark your calendars: Liquor ban on May 8 and 9

MANILA, Philippines – Do you drink?

Then mark your calendars: you’re not allowed to drink liquor from May 8 to 9, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

If you do, you can go to jail.

This is the Comelec’s traditional liquor ban for election day. The Philippines is holding presidential elections on May 9, and the liquor ban begins a day before people troop to polling precincts.

"It shall be unlawful for any person, including owners and managers of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other establishments of the same nature to sell, furnish, offer, buy, serve, or take intoxicating liquor anywhere in the Philippines," the Comelec said in Resolution 10095 promulgated on Thursday, April 14.

The Comelec said violating the liquor ban "shall be punishable with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation."

The offender will also be disqualified from holding public office and will be banned from voting.

Foreigners exempted

There’s an exemption, though: foreign tourists can drink in certain places from May 8 to 9, the Comelec said.

"Hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other establishments of the same nature duly certified by the Department of Tourism as tourist-oriented and habitually in the business of catering to foreign tourists may be exempted from the liquor ban, provided, they secure prior written authority from the officers enumerated in Section 4 hereof, upon showing that there are justifiable reasons therefor," the poll body said.

It added, "Only foreign tourists taking intoxicating liquor in said authorized hotels or establishments are exempted from the prohibition." 

Section 4 of Resolution 10095 lists the following officers that can grant exemptions: 

For the Philippines’ 2013 elections, the Comelec planned to implement a 5-day liquor ban. 

The Supreme Court, however, stopped the Comelec’s plan and limited the liquor ban to two days, from May 12 to 13, 2013. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at