MANILA - The Commission on Elections’ local campaign committee is expected to review the move of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is running for Vice President in the May elections, to ban political campaign motorcades in her locality, an official of the poll body said Tuesday.
“The second question is whether or not a local chief executive has the power to order things like this... The question has already been referred to the Regional Comelec Campaign Committee. Sila magru-rule niyan," said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.
"I cannot give you any indication how they will rule because pinag-aaralan pa lang nila ngayon 'yan. But certainly, this is one of the situations that we sort of anticipated local chief executives might do in the face of the pandemic," he added.
"We will see what the Comelec Campaign Committee, the regional Comelec campaign committee says about it."
The City Government of Davao announced Tuesday that caravans and motorcades related to the May 9, 2022 national and local elections are banned in the locality until May 8.
It said that Duterte-Carpio signed Executive Order No. 10 Series of 2022 on Monday, March 7, containing the prohibition and guidelines in the conduct of political activities in the city.
The order was based on Comelec Resolution No. 10732, Series of 2021, dated November 24, 2021, outlining the guidelines on the conduct of in-person campaigns, rallies, caucuses, meetings, conventions, motorcades, caravans, and Miting de Avance under the new normal for the upcoming elections, the city government said.
“There is a need to prohibit motorcades and caravans due to the continuing increase of fuel costs, the inconvenience of the traffic jams it will create and the ongoing public want due to the economic losses from the pandemic coupled with the rising prices of basic commodities,” the EO said.
Jimenez said the cost of holding election campaign motorcades is covered by the limits on spending.
“It’s under the aggregate spending limit. Kasama lahat 'yan - 3 per voter or 5 per voter. KLasama na 'yan lahat, including motorcades or similar gatherings," he said.
The Comelec maintained it gives candidates leeway in terms of activities they can do now that the government has eased pandemic restrictions to its lowest level.
But Jimenez reminded the candidates to stick to the minimum health protocols.
“As far as the implementation of guidelines at Level 1, we do have a resolution giving guidelines on how Level 1 activities are to be regulated. At 'yun ang sinusunod natin," he said.
"So, there’s a lot of liberality there. There's a lot of leeway being given to the candidates. Ang important lang, ma-maintain natin 'yung minimum health protocols.“
Meanwhile, the official said they have referred to the Office of the Solicitor General the matter of the restraining order issued by a Baguio City court against the poll body’s program to take down allegedly illegal campaign posters.
“Iyung issue sa Baguio, that has been referred to the Office of the Solicitor General. And so, we'll have to wait,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said the order does not cover the other parts of the country, contrary to the view of one of the petitioners. Thus, for him, the program continues in other parts of the country to ensure compliance with the Fair Elections Act.