Remove campaign materials or face sanctions: Comelec

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reiterated its call for candidates and their supporters to take down campaign materials, which will be considered as illegal after February 12.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they are set to resurrect “Operation Baklas”, which is aimed at dismantling illegal posters and tarpaulins as the campaign period starts next week.

“We will be talking to the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) and MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) in the coming days regarding Operation Baklas,” he said in a media briefing at the start of the printing of the official ballots for the May 13 mid-term polls on Saturday.

The poll body official noted that they are sending letters to national aspirants and political groups, urging them to put down the campaign materials.

“We don’t expect them to reply to us written but we do expect to see compliance by February 12,” Jimenez said.

A total of 62 candidates are running for senatorial posts while 134 groups are vying for party-list seats in the House of Representatives.

The Comelec official reiterated that posters and tarpaulins with a maximum size of 2 feet by 3 feet or 3 feet by 2 feet, depending on their chosen orientation, should only be posted or placed in campaign areas.

Jimenez warned that the candidate or the political group will be held accountable for their erroneous acts.

“If they say that they were not the ones who posted the tarpaulin — it doesn’t matter because if they knew that the materials are in violation of the election law and they just ignored it, did not do something about it and since they benefitted from the said material, they will be held responsible. So (they) might as well put these posters down,” he said.

A candidate belonging to a political party is allowed to spend PHP3 per voter while an independent candidate is allowed to spend PHP5 per voter.

For political parties and party-list groups, the spending limit is PHP5 per voter.

The Comelec noted that violation of election laws constitute an offense punishable under the Omnibus Election Code in addition to administrative liability.

Meanwhile, the 45-day campaign period for local positions will begin on March 29. (PNA)