MANILA, Philippines - As it gears up for the filing of certificates of candidacy next week, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday reminded aspiring candidates for the 2013 elections not to engage in premature campaigning--or at the very least, to minimize it.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that although no law prohibits candidates from promoting themselves before the campaign period, the poll body disagrees with it.
"It's something that we disagree with vehemently, and we think that candidates should refrain from doing that," he told ABS-CBN News.
"Even if the letter of the law or the interpretation of the Supreme Court in effect allows them to campaign prematurely, sana naman konting delicadeza," he added. "Maybe they can keep it to a minimum."
Jimenez admitted that the Comelec cannot stop candidates from staging rallies and other activities to promote themselves during the filing of COCs next week .
"After the filing, they can actually go out and campaign and we will not stop them," he said.
But Jimenez cautioned candidates against doing this, saying it tilts the playing field in favor of the moneyed.
Preparations at the Comelec's Project Management Office went full-blast on Friday.
Media organizations have started setting up their equipment for the live coverage of the filing of COCs for the senatorial elections.
To ensure order during the filing period, journalists wll have their designated area for interviews.
Only candidates and their immediate families will be allowed inside. Their supporters will have to stay out.
The filing will be held from 8 am to 5 pm beginning October 1 up to 5.
"No extension," Jimenez said.
He explained that the Comelec will be strict with the schedule to give the body enough time to resolve disqualification cases before the printing of ballots in January next year.
"With the greater time between the start of printing and the end of filing mas marami tayong panahon para matapos ang mga petition for disqualification and motion to deny due course," he said.
Jimenez also reminded candidates running under a party to submit their certificate of nomination acceptance along with their COCs, and to file their statement of contributions and expenditures within 30 days after the elections.