Comelec reminds poll bets against airing informercials so as to avoid premature campaigning raps‏

November 18, 2009 1:53 am 

MANILA, Nov. 17 — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday warned candidates for the 2010 national and local elections against airing this early their infomercials or face charges of violation of election laws.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said that once the candidate filed his/her certificate of candidacy (COC), he/she should refrain from making infomercials or be charged with premature campaigning.

“After they file their COCs, they have to refrain from airing infomercials up to the campaign period. Otherwise, they would be charged with premature campaigning and it could result in a disqualification,” he said.

The filing of COCs is set on November 20 until December 1.

The poll body said that anybody who has already filed their COC is already considered a candidate.

Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) states that election campaign or partisan political activity outside campaign period shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not a voter or candidate, except during the campaign period.

Sarmiento noted that while the case of Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte Mayor Rosalinda Penera remains pending at the Supreme Court, the earlier resolution of the Court will be in effect.

“Our law is still the same (on premature campaigning) unless the Supreme Court comes out with a reverse ruling… that, of course, will change the game,” he said.

The campaign period for national candidates is from February 9, 2010 while local candidates may begin campaigning on March 26, 2010. Both sectors will have until May 8, 2010 to promote their candidacies.

Last September, the High Tribunal disqualified Penera on her victory in the 2007 mayoral race after she was found guilty of premature campaigning when she held a motorcade immediately after filing her COC.

Premature campaigning is an election offense, offenders are liable for a 1-6 year imprisonment and the removal of the right of suffrage.

Meanwhile, Sarmiento said might issue a separate resolution that would govern the campaigning through the internet.

“We might issue a separate resolution para sa internet (campaigning)… as of now kasi, we can only rule on the traditional tri-media pa lang,” he said.

Every politician believed to be running for the May 2010 polls are maintaining their own website or accounts in social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Friendster. (PNA)

DCT/FGP/utb

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