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MANILA, Philippines (Update) - The campaign posters of administration senatorial candidate Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara went beyond the allowable size and were put in areas specifically prohibited by the Commission on Elections.
This was disclosed to Rappler by Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez hours after the official campaign period for national races began on Tuesday, February 12. Jimenez said he personally took photos of Angara’s campaign ads that violated campaign rules.
“I collated photos of Angara’s ads posted in electric posts along Quezon Blvd [in Quezon City]. We informed him about it and he promised to take them away,” Jimenez said. "You can see his campaign posters in Meralco posts leading to Plaza Miranda.”
Angara later apologized. His media officer Dennis Legaspi admitted they were placed in prohibited areas by supporters who were apparently unaware of the Comelec guidelines. He said posters will be taken down within 24 hours.
But Legaspi stressed that the posters were not oversized.
Jimenez said that the poll body, either through its own effort or those reported by concerned citizens, has monitored 10 violations, including those committed by party-list groups and local officials.
“We expect reports to come in trickles in the beginning as people are still trying the new mechanism and as they are still concerned that they might get in trouble for reporting these things. We are trying to set the example to the public that they can report these things without fear,” Jimenez explained.
Jimenez said Angara’s camp was informed about what they discovered and that the senatorial candidate vowed to remove the posters. “The process is we inform the candidate about the potential violation and give him or her grace period to address it.”
If the candidate ignores the warning of the Comelec, Jimenez said “it is up to the Comelec law department to pursue a case against th candidate.”
Jimenez gave assurances that due process will be observed to prevent rival candidates from playing dirty tricks against other. “We will give them a chance to explain either to disown or own up to the violation.”
The Comelec has been criticized for being lenient in bringing down illegal campaign posters, which turn neighborhoods and villages into one big mess of self-promoting billboards. - Rappler.com
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