Beware of bets who break campaign rules - Comelec

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2013 05:02 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2013 04:29 AM

2 Senate bets, 6 party-list groups warned for violating rules on posters

MANILA (UPDATED) – An executive of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) told the public to be wary of candidates who cannot follow simple campaign rules after their law department served notices to 2 senatorial candidates and 6 party-list groups for poster violations.

Comelec law department head Esmeralda Ladra said they have sent notices to remove the illegal posters to senatorial candidates Risa Hontiveros and Edward Hagedorn and Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta, Buhay, 1-JAMG, PISTON, KABATAAN and LPGMA.

The notices tell them to remove the illegal posters in 3 days or face cases for election offenses.

Ladra clarified that to avoid recidivism, their notices also tell candidates to remove posters from all prohibited  places even if these are not the ones covered by the notice they received.

"If in case mahalal sila, sila magle-legislate. They should be the first to follow…itong mga kandidatong ito at this point nagbibigay sila ng kanilang pahayag na gusto nila mag-serve sa public, pero ngayon pa lang lumalabag na sila sa batas. Ano ine-expect natin ‘pag sila na ang nakaupo. Isa iyan sa magiging basehan niyo,” Ladra said.

Ladra added they are also keeping track of the notices received by each candidate as they also intend to file cases against recidivists or repeat offenders.

Ladra said the notices are based on tips received by the Comelec through social media as well as physical monitoring by the Comelec's education and information department.

Ladra said some of the recipients have already submitted replies stating compliance.

Hagedorn's poster violation was recorded on Osmena Highway while Hontiveros' was in Dumaguete.

"If you don't remove, kami sa Comelec motu propio or upon (sumbong), we'll be filing cases election offenses especially sa SOCE [statement of contributions and expenditures], we have to make sure na assessed," said Ladra.

Ladra reiterated that party-list groups may lose their accreditation as one of the grounds for cancellation is violation of election rules.

Ladra said the notices were sent through personal services.

Ladra said they may no longer file cases against those who remove the posters,

"Kung kusa tinanggal…’pag ‘di tinanggal, after 3 days we will be constrained to file a case against them. Mas maganda na sasabihin nila tinanggal na,” she said.

Ladra maintained that the Comelec will also not accept as an excuse claims by politicians that posters were put up by their opponents.

"Basta at all times makatanggap kami, we will be entertaining all. Tignan natin sino pinakamaraming mafile-an,” she said.

Notices to candidates

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes on Friday said the poll body also sent notices to senatorial candidates Sonny Angara and Teddy Casiño, as well as Anak Mindanao and Sanlakas.

"They have 3 days to remove all their illegal posters regardless of location. Appropriate case will be immediately filed if not removed," he warned.

"We are preparing more notices in the coming days. I would like to thank the public for all the reports. Vontinue reporting to @COMELEC," he said on Twitter.