Comelec outlines do's and don'ts in 2016 polls

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2016 03:50 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2016 11:15 PM

MANILA - One week before the official start of the campaign period for national bets, the Commission on Elections on Tuesday outlined the guidelines for lawful election campaigning in the May 9, 2016 polls.

This is contained in a 23-page resolution promulgated on February 1, or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Fair Elections Act.

The poll body reminded candidates that any form of election propaganda, on whatever medium, is still subject to the supervision and regulation of the Comelec.

Lawful election propaganda includes: 

A. Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written or printed materials the size of which does not exceed eight-and-one-half (8 1/2) inches in width and fourteen (14) inches in length;

B. Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or candidate for public office;

C. Posters made of cloth, paper, cardboard or any other material, whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding two (2) feet by three (3) feet;

D. Streamers not exceeding three (3) feet by eight (8) feet in size displayed at the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally. Said streamers may be displayed five (5) days before the date of the meeting or rally and shall be removed within twenty-four hours after said meeting or rally;

E. Mobile units, vehicles motorcades of all types, whether engine or manpower-driven or animal-drawn, with or without sound systems or loud speakers and with or without lights;

F. Paid advertisements in print or broadcast media subject to the requirements set forth in Section 4 hereof and the Fair Elections Act;

G. In the headquarters or residences of candidates, lawful election paraphernalia may be displayed, but banners or streamers referred to in paragraph (d) above shall not be allowed; and,

H. All other forms of election propaganda not prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code or these rules.

PROHIBITED

Meanwhile, prohibited forms of election propaganda include printed election campaign paraphernalia and campaign advertisement on TV, internet and radio which does not include the phrase: "political advertisements paid by" followed by the name of the candidate or party.

Also illegal are donated election campaign propaganda on print, radio, tv and internet should which do not bear the words "printed free of charge," or "airtime for this broadcast was provided free of charge by," followed by name of the donor.

The guidelines also prohibit the showing of any movie, cinematography, documentary or any performance portraying the life or biography of a candidate.

The poll body reminded candidates that it is unlawful for candidates to post election campaign materials outside designated common poster areas, public areas or private properties without the consent of the owner.

Public places include: 

1. Publicly-owned electronic announcement boards, such as light-emitting diode (LED) display boards located along highways and streets, liquid crystal display (LCD) posted on walls of public buildings, and other similar devices which are owned by local government units, government-owned or controlled corporations, or any agency or instrumentality of the Government;

2. Motor vehicles used as patrol cars. Ambulances, and for other similar purposes that are owned by local government units, government-owned or -controlled corporations and other agencies and instrumentalities of the government, particularly those bearing government license plates;

3. Public transport vehicles owned and controlled by the government such as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), and Philippine National Railway trains and the like.

4. Waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lamp posts, electric posts and wires, traffic signages and other signboards erected on public property, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, bridges, main thoroughfares, center islands of roads and highways;

5. Schools, public shrines, barangay halls, government offices, health centers, public structured and buildings or any edifice thereof;

6. Within the premises of public transport terminals owned and controlled by the government, such as bus terminals, airports, seaports, docks, piers, train stations and the like.

SHAME CAMPAIGN

On Tuesday, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista encouraged the public to use social media to report and "shame" candidates violating the provisions of the Fair Elections Act.

"We are embarking on a shame campaign. We want to involve the citizenry, gusto natin na ang taumbayan ay lumahok at tumulong at kunan ng litrato yung mga campaign paraphernalia ng mga hindi karapat dapat sa lugar," Bautista said. "Napakalaganap na ngayon ng social media, baka kung naging viral ito baka makaapekto ito sa kanilang kampanya."

Bautista made this statement during today's signing of the poll body of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DPWH and MMDA on the monitoring of election campaigns. The MOA authorizes both DPWH and MMDA to take down illegal campaign materials during the campaign period.

The campaign period starts on February 9 for Presidential, Vice Presidential, and Senatorial candidates as well as for Party-List groups.

Candidates for Members of the House of Representatives, regional, provincial, city and municipal officials can start campaigning on March 25.

The election period officially ends on May 7, 2016, or two days before the elections.