Comelec relaxes rule on poll bets skipping website registration

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2019 03:34 PM

A voter browses through a list posted outside a polling precinct. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA -- The Commission on Elections is looking for other ways to monitor campaign spending online, its spokesman said Monday, with few candidates so far opting to register their election-related websites with the poll body.

As of Monday, only 29 of 62 senatorial candidates have complied with this new requirement, which the Comelec designed to determine possible overspending after the campaign.

Among the 134 party-list groups running in next month’s midterm elections, only 69 have submitted the URLs (uniform resource locator) of their campaign websites.

In all, 1,473 out of 43,554 candidates nationwide have informed the election commission of their campaign websites.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez acknowledged that not all candidates had put up websites and social media accounts for their campaign “so it’s possible that they have nothing to submit.”

“Meron pa ring tayong paraan para malaman kung ano yung mga websites na basically nagbe-behave na parang campaign outlets,” he told reporters.

(We still have ways to determine which websites are basically behaving like campaign outlets.)

“We can look at those.”

Registering websites and social media accounts is not a “hard” rule but only a “directory requirement” by the Comelec on candidates, he said.

“Sa ngayon hindi pa natin tinitingnan na i-penalize yan,” he said, noting candidates could still register their campaign websites with the Comelec.

(At the moment, we are not looking at penalties.)

“Unang time na gagawin natin to so mas medyo mas relax tayo sa implementation.”

(This is the first time we're doing this so we are more relaxed with the implementation.)

Election rules allow candidates with political parties to spend up to 3 pesos for every registered voter in the area they are running.

Candidates without parties may spend up to 5 pesos per voter.

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