Comelec exec: 'Oplan Baklas' rules to be discussed after SC issues TRO

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2022 02:22 PM | Updated as of Mar 09 2022 05:39 PM

Members of the Metro Manila Development Authority collect dismantled campaign posters and tarpaulins at the MMDA satellite office in Sta. Mesa, Manila during
Members of the Metro Manila Development Authority collect dismantled campaign posters and tarpaulins at the MMDA satellite office in Sta. Mesa, Manila during "Oplan Baklas" operations on Feb. 18, 2022. ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Commission on Elections will discuss Wednesday the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court on its crackdown on what it deemed to be prohibited campaign materials, one of its new commissioners said.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said the poll body would also look into the guidelines of "Oplan Baklas" or the dismantling of oversized campaign materials even those displayed in private properties.

“Mamaya po pag-uusapan po namin ‘yan upang maging mas maliwanag [kung] ano ba talaga ang na-TRO o na-restrain ng Korte Suprema, at ano pa rin, despite the fact na may TRO, ang talagang bawal naman,” he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

The high tribunal on Tuesday temporarily stopped the enforcement of "Oplan Baklas" pending the resolution of the petition filed by some supporters of presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo.

The poll body's law department received Wednesday the copy of the TRO.

The petitioners claimed the operations violated their freedom of speech and expression, and took away their property without due process as there was no prior notice and hearing when the posters were taken without their consent.

The SC ordered Comelec to answer the petition within 10 days from receipt of its resolution.

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The issuance of the TRO against "Oplan Baklas," nonetheless, does not mean campaign posters could be placed anywhere, said Garcia.

"Ang ating mga kandidato, baka akala nila, porke’t may TRO ay kahit saan na lang makapaglagay. ‘Yan po, kailangan maliwanag at dapat mayroon po kaming guidelines," he said.

Garcia said the poll body should issue guidelines for everyone.

"Para naman po hindi nagkakaroon ng tunggalian at gitgitan. Baka umabot sa isang pisikal na alam niyo naman, kung hindi man ay kasuhan," he said.

He added, "Ang importante po dito, maging maliwanag. 'Ah, ito pala naman talaga ang bawal, ito naman pala ay puwede, ito po 'yung sabi ng Korte Suprema, ito po 'yung covered ng TRO, ito po ‘yung hindi covered ng TRO'."


Meanwhile, the poll body approved a proposal to review Comelec Resolution 10732, which provides guidelines for the 2022 poll campaign period.

During a hearing at the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Comelec director Elaiza Sabile-David said the Comelec en banc approved Garcia's proposal.

"You can expect some changes. During the time it was promulgated, mas mataas pa ang alert level noon. The guidelines need to be aligned na po sa ating existing alert level," she said.

The resolution provides guidelines for the conduct of in-person campaign, rallies, caucuses, meetings and conventions, motorcades and caravans, and miting de avance under the new normal.

"The plan to revisit is the entire resolution po. Ire-review po ang lahat ng provisions po. Lahat po titingnan. So we expect some changes. Hindi lang specific provisions but the entire resolution po," David said.

—With a report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News