Politicking in time of COVID-19? Comelec has no probe jurisdiction yet, says Palace

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2021 06:27 PM

Politicking in time of COVID-19? Comelec has no probe jurisdiction yet, says Palace 1
A health worker prepares a dose of Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine during a vaccination for residents in Mandaluyong City on July 15, 2021. Ted Aljibe, AFP

MANILA — The Commission on Elections has no jurisdiction yet to go after politicians who are allegedly hijacking the COVID-19 vaccination drive to promote their interests in the 2022 elections, Malacañang said on Monday. 

Poll watchdog Kontradaya over the weekend called on the Comelec to look into the "underhanded ways" that politicians promote themselves in the immunization drive, arguing this is "clearly a case of premature campaigning."

"Wala pong hurisdiksyon ang Comelec unless campaign period na," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque, a lawyer. 

(The Comelec has no jurisdiction, unless it's already the campaign period.)

"Hindi ko po alam kung gustong gawin ng Comelec ‘yan. Pero gustuhin man nila o hindi, ang pagkakaalam ko sa batas, ‘pag hindi pa campaign period, wala pang hurisdiksyon ang Comelec to implement our election laws," he said in a press briefing. 

(I do not know if the Comelec wants to do that. But whether they want to or not, from what I know of the law, when it's not the campaign period, the Comelec has no jurisdiction to implement our campaign laws yet.) 

Kontradaya has urged the poll body to refrain from being too technical and legalistic in refusing to probe the issue. 

The coalition noted some politicians have been posting their tarpaulins at some vaccination sites, while other allegedly post their names while promoting the inoculation campaign online. 

"I think the statement po is bereft of merit," said Roque, who noted that no one has filed certificates of candidacy for the 2022 polls. 

Asked if he felt alluded to by Kontra Daya's statements, Roque, who has led vaccine press briefings in various parts of the country, said "Certainly not." 

"I am spokesperson not just for the President, but also for IATF (inter-agency task force on COVID-19), and I consider my role as spokesperson to be crucial in promoting vaccine confidence," he said.