MANILA, Philippines – Sparing no one, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) called out President Rodrigo Duterte's longtime aide and also the opposition's leading senatorial candidate on Tuesday, February 12, for their illegal posters on the first day of campaigns.
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez on Tuesday warned senatorial bets Bong Go and Mar Roxas, among other candidates, for their illegal posters.
Jimenez, as part of a Twitter brigade against illegal propaganda, on Tuesday tweeted a photo of a poster of Go.
In this poster, Go is seen beside his longtime boss, Duterte, both of them making the President's trademark fist-pump gesture. "Happy New Year 2019," the poster states, with the label "Tatay Digong" (Daddy Digong) and "Kuya Bong" (Brother Bong).
Jimenez tweeted a photo of Go's poster with the following caption: "Kahit walang 'vote' or 'iboto' or kaparehong salita, campaign propaganda pa rin. Kailangan pa rin patanggal lalo't mali ang sukat at mali ang lokasyon, mga ser."
(Even if it does not have the words "vote" or any similar words, it is still campaign propaganda. You still need to have it removed especially because it has the wrong size and is in the wrong location, sirs.)
Jimenez also criticized a poster of Roxas, the opposition's leading senatorial candidate, whom Duterte defeated in the 2016 presidential race.
Jimenez tweeted a photo of Roxas' poster with the following caption: "Isa ka pa. Marami namang puwedeng kabitan na common poster area, diyan ka pa sa bawal, at sa puno pa! Mukhang maling sukat; definitely maling location. Patanggal mo na 'yan, ser."
(You too. We have many common poster areas where you could have hung this poster, yet you placed it in an illegal venue, and on a tree at that! It looks like it has the wrong size; definitely it's in the wrong location. Have it removed, sir.)
Jimenez also issued warnings about the posters of the following candidates and party-list groups on Tuesday:
Report violations, Comelec urges citizens
In a tweet, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said on Tuesday: "As voters' education chair of Comelec, it is our duty to ensure fair elections so the voters can have informed choices. Candidates for senator and party list, remove your posters. Citizens, take pics and report violations."
The Comelec encouraged citizens to report these on social media using the hashtag #SumbongSaComelec.
Reports must indicate the violations committed, the location of the illegal campaign materials, and the dates they took photos of these illegal propaganda, said the Comelec.
Comelec Resolution No. 10488, promulgated on January 30, holds candidates and parties accountable for posters under their name.
The resolution states, "It will be presumed that the candidates and parties caused the posting of campaign materials outside the common poster areas if they do not remove the same within 3 days from notice issued by the election officer of the city or municipality where the election propaganda is posted or displayed."
The resolution also states that a candidate or party "shall be presumed to have committed the pertinent election offense" if their prohibited campaign materials have not been removed "at least 72 hours before the start of the campaign period."
The campaign period for senatorial candidates and party-list groups runs from February 12 to May 11. For local candidates, the campaign period is from March 29 to May 11. (READ: What to expect as the 2019 campaign period for national bets begins)
The Comelec clarified in Resolution No. 10488 that prohibited forms of propaganda "include any names, images, logos, brands, insignias, color motifs, initials, and other forms of identifiable graphical representations placed by incumbent officials on any public structures or places" as enumerated in the poll body's rules.
Violators can be charged with an election offense, which is punishable by one to 6 years in prison, disqualification from holding public office, and deprivation of the right to vote. – Rappler.com
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 email@example.com.