In a recent campaign sortie, Cavite governor Jonvic Remulla was caught on video giving out cash for audience members in exchange for a performance. Many netizens criticized the governor, accusing him of vote-buying. Remulla defended himself, claiming that he is “not yet a candidate” until March 25, when the campaign period for local candidates officially begins. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) urged the public to file complaints and reports so they can launch an investigation regarding this alleged vote-buying. In light of such issues, let’s review some of the things that candidates can and cannot do during the campaign period and what may incur an electoral offense.
WATCH: In this mini-rally, Cavite Gov. Remulla seeks the three best singers from the audience. Two gets P5,000 each and one got P2,000 each which he pulled from his pocket. | via @kristinepatag pic.twitter.com/NOStz4vQdQ
— Philstar.com (@PhilstarNews) March 22, 2022
DON’T: Buy or sell votes
This is one of the most obvious prohibited acts during elections, but it’s always good to put emphasis on it. Any individual or entity who engages in any type of value exchange in return for votes for any candidate will be found guilty of an electoral offense. In other words, buying votes in exchange for money or any thing or service of value is strictly prohibited.
The same goes for the other way around. Any individual or entity who solicits or receives any thing or service of value in exchange for their vote will also be found guilty of an electoral offense.
(See Article XXII Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.)
DON’T: Remove or destroy any lawful election materials
The Comelec team in Echague also did not spare posters of Marcos-Duterte. They removed these posters after measuring then. pic.twitter.com/tpfCwRXGMh
— Mara Cepeda (@maracepeda) February 17, 2022
If any campaign materials follow the requirements Comelec has, it is illegal for any individual or entity to remove or destroy such materials. But if they don’t comply with Comelec’s guidelines on campaign materials, Comelec representatives have the right to remove or confiscate such materials.
(See Sections 25 and 26 of Comelec Resolution No. 10730)
DON’T: Display campaign materials outside of authorized areas
‘KAHIT TARP KO PA YAN’
Mayor Vico Sotto instructed police officers to remove any campaign materials either for electioneering or commercial purposes that are placed on public spaces in Pasig City, including posters of him for his reelection bid.
Read: https://t.co/KGbQgjl9oT pic.twitter.com/BGB7nVr6Qo
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) December 4, 2021
During the campaign period, Comelec has designated common poster areas where candidates may display their campaign materials. Only those designated areas may be used to hang up any campaign material. According to Comelec, common poster areas do not include any trees, plants, shrubs located along public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises, or on any other public grounds.
Private properties are also restricted from any display of campaign materials unless the owner allows it. If you want to exhibit campaign material in private properties, you need to secure permission from the property’s owner.
(See Sections 20 and 21 of Comelec Resolution No. 10730)
DON’T: Give or receive transportation and food during campaign sorties
In relation to any exchange of value, Comelec also prohibits any individual or entity to provide or receive transportation, food, and drinks, or anything of value five hours before and after a public campaign meeting, as well as during the event proper.
(See Section 25 of Comelec Resolution No. 10730)
DON’T: Campaign on Holy Week or beyond the campaign period
The campaign period for the 2022 national elections starts from February 8 to May 7, 2022, while local election candidates may campaign from March 25 to May 7, 2022. Campaigning beyond those dates is strictly prohibited. The Comelec puts emphasis on campaign restriction on the eve of election day (May 8, 2022) and on Election Day (May 9, 2022).
Aside from the aforementioned restricted dates, candidates are prohibited from campaigning or doing any election-related activities during Holy Week, specifically Maundy Thursday (April 14, 2022) and Good Friday (April 15, 2022).
DO: Follow health and safety protocols during events
With the elections being held amid a global pandemic, Comelec has added guidelines regarding COVID-19 preventive measures and health and safety protocols during the campaign period.
The commission has deferred to the guidelines provided by the national government, the Department of Health, the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), and the local government unit of the event location. Comelec also put emphasis on the following standard health protocols: (1) wearing of face mask; (2) physical distancing; (3) frequent disinfection of hands; and (4) proper cough and sneezing etiquette.
(See Section 40 of Comelec Resolution No. 10730)
DO: Properly identify campaign materials
Any printed or published campaign materials such as posters, tarpaulins, leaflets, video, and audio recordings need to have proper identification in legible or audible words that indicate which candidate the material is for. They must bear the words “political advertisement paid for” followed by the name of the candidate or party as proper identification of the material’s beneficiary. These rules also apply to online advertisements.
(To see other parameters, see Sections 6 and 7 of Comelec Resolution No. 10730)
DO: Have donated election propaganda properly indicate the name of its donor
Campaign materials should also bear the words “political advertisement paid by” followed by the true and correct name and address of the person or organization that paid for them.
The same goes for any campaign material donated or provided for free by any individual or firm. Such materials must bear the rods “printed free of charge,” or “airtime for this broadcast was provided free of charge by”, followed by the name of the publishing firm. Again, these rules also apply to online advertisements.
(See Sections 6 and 7 of Comelec Resolution No. 10730)
For more information on the allowed and prohibited acts related to campaigns during the election season, visit the Comelec website to see the Omnibus Election Code or Comelec Resolution No. 10730.