ELEC­TION SEA­SON OPENS

Sev­eral bans, in­clud­ing the use of se­cu­rity per­son­nel and sus­pen­sion of lo­cal elected of­fi­cials, in ef­fect Can­di­dates for the May midterm elec­tions have one more month to dis­play cam­paign ma­te­ri­als in­dis­crim­i­nately

Sun.Star Cebu - - TOP STORIES - / RTF

It will still be a “free for all” for lo­cal can­di­dates in terms of where to post and dis­play their posters and cam­paign ma­te­ri­als when the elec­tion pe­riod starts on Sun­day, Jan. 13.

Cebu City North Dis­trict Elec­tion Of­fi­cer Marchel Sarno said can­di­dates “can do what­ever they want,” in­clud­ing where they hang or post their cam­paign ma­te­ri­als, as the reg­u­la­tion on cam­paign ma­te­ri­als has not started.

Sarno said the reg­u­la­tion will take ef­fect at the start of the cam­paign pe­riod, which will be on Feb. 12.

He said the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec) has yet to des­ig­nate a spe­cific area.

Cam­paign posters and tarpaulins lit­ter pub­lic walls and places, in­clud­ing trees, elec­tri­cal posts, among oth­ers, dur­ing an elec­tion pe­riod de­spite the govern­ment’s pro­hi­bi­tion.

Sec­tion 9 of Repub­lic Act 9006, or the Fair Elec­tion Act, states that Com­elec may au­tho­rize po­lit­i­cal par­ties and party-list groups to es­tab­lish com­mon poster ar­eas for their can­di­dates in not more than 10 pub­lic places, such as plazas, mar­kets, barangay cen­ters, among oth­ers, where can­di­dates can post, dis­play or ex­hibit elec­tion pro­pa­ganda.

Poster ar­eas, how­ever, should not ex­ceed 12-by-16-feet, or its equiv­a­lent.

Can­di­dates may also post law­ful pro­pa­ganda ma­te­rial in pri­vate places pro­vided that the owner gave his con­sent.

In­de­pen­dent can­di­dates with no po­lit­i­cal par­ties may be au­tho­rized to build com­mon poster ar­eas in not more than 10 pub­lic places. Poster ar­eas, how­ever, should not be more than four-by-six-feet, or its equiv­a­lent.

Mean­while, the ban on car­ry­ing, bear­ing and trans­port­ing firearms or other deadly weapons will start on Sun­day. Ex­empted from the ban are those with a writ­ten ex­emp­tion is­sued by the Com­elec.

Also on Sun­day, Com­elec and the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice will ac­ti­vate the joint se­cu­rity con­trol cen­ter to en­sure peace and or­der dur­ing the elec­tion pe­riod.

“We are ready and are closely co­or­di­nat­ing with the po­lice. On Sun­day morn­ing, we will kick off the elec­tion pe­riod with a unity walk from the Cebu Pro­vin­cial Capi­tol to the Po­lice Re­gional Of­fice 7. We’ve in­vited all the can­di­dates in Cebu as we aim to cre­ate a peace covenant,” Cebu Pro­vin­cial Elec­tion Su­per­vi­sor Lionel Marco Castil­lano said.

Pro­mul­gated last Oct. 1, Com­elec Res­o­lu­tion 10429 pro­vides the cal­en­dar of ac­tiv­i­ties and pe­ri­ods of pro­hib­ited acts in con­nec­tion with the May 13 na­tional and lo­cal elec­tions.

The use of se­cu­rity per­son­nel or body­guards by can­di­dates, un­less au­tho­rized in writ­ing by the Com­elec, is not al­lowed dur­ing the elec­tion pe­riod.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion of re­ac­tion or strike forces and the sus­pen­sion of elec­tive lo­cal of­fi­cials are also not al­lowed.

Castil­lano, though, clar­i­fied that the Com­elec will im­ple­ment sus­pen­sion or­ders against elec­tive lo­cal of­fi­cials if or­dered by the ombudsman.

“There is a ban on sus­pen­sion of lo­cal elec­tive of­fi­cials, but ex­cept for those who were found guilty of graft and cor­rupt prac­tices by the ombudsman,” he said.

As for the cam­paign pe­riod, it will end on May 11.

Bets will be pro­hib­ited from cam­paign­ing dur­ing Holy Thurs­day (March 28) and Good Fri­day (March 29).

Can­di­dates will not be al­lowed to give gifts in cash or in kind and ap­point or use con­fi­den­tial agents or special po­lice of­fi­cers dur­ing this pe­riod.

From March 29 to May 12, the ap­point­ment or hir­ing of new em­ploy­ees, the cre­ation or filling of new po­si­tions and the pro­mo­tion or giv­ing of salary in­creases are pro­hib­ited.

Other pro­hib­ited ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing this pe­riod in­clude the con­struc­tion of pub­lic works, de­liv­ery of ma­te­ri­als for pub­lic works, is­suance of trea­sury war­rant and dis­burse­ment of pub­lic funds.

Can­di­dates will be banned from cam­paign­ing abroad from April 13 to May 13.

On the eve of the elec­tion day, the sell­ing, buy­ing, serv­ing and tak­ing of in­tox­i­cat­ing liquor will be pro­hib­ited along with the giv­ing and ac­cept­ing of free trans­porta­tion, food or things of value.

On elec­tion day on May 13, cam­paign­ing, vot­ing more than once or in sub­sti­tu­tion of an­other is pro­hib­ited.

Other pro­hib­ited ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing this day in­clude so­lic­it­ing votes or un­der­tak­ing any pro­pa­ganda for or against a can­di­date or po­lit­i­cal party, open­ing of booths or stalls for the sale of re­fresh­ment within a ra­dius of 30 me­ters from the polling place, and the hold­ing of fairs, cock­fights, box­ing or any other sim­i­lar sports.

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