DAVAO CITY(MindaNews/31 March)— The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here will issue notices to local candidates to remove campaign materials posted outside the designated areas, an official said Sunday
Lawyer Wilfredo Jay Balisado, Comelec-11 region director, said his office will still have to document violations on campaign materials posted outside the designated zones.
“We are still verifying reports, document them, and we will ask the violators to remove them,” Balisado said in a text message.
However, Balisado did not mention who are the local bets reportedly posting materials outside the common poster areas, or how many complaints were coming from the region.
Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Election Act only allows the posting of campaign materials to common poster areas or within private property as long as they have the owner’s consent. Plazas, markets and barangay centers are considered common areas.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, a person found guilty of any election offense could face imprisonment of not less than a year but not more than six years and disqualification from running for public office.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez reportedly warned Sunday local candidates to follow election rules, as there have been complaints received by the central office about tarpaulins of candidates in non-common poster areas, citing Visayas and southern Mindanao, including Davao City.
He said the Comelec is “establishing the procedure” so that all the reports to the central office would be referred to the local Comelec officials “for immediate action.”
Lawyer Aimee Ampoloquio, election officer for the city’s first district, said in a phone interview Sunday she has not yet received any complaint about election campaign rules violations, nor “observed any illegal posting of election campaign materials in her district.”
The campaign period for local bets officially began last Saturday.
She said the Comelec-Davao office is close for business and expecting the complaints to come by Monday.
Ampoloquio said they will write violators of the non-common poster areas to remove their campaign materials themselves.
Based on her experiences in the past elections, she said that local candidates “would respond promptly and usually notify her office after removing their posters.”
Ampoloquio said that they are still busy training the board of election inspectors, adding that by Tuesday, they will start the training of operators of the precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines.
But she said they will start visiting villages to remove posters outside the common poster areas after April 5, the end of trainings.
The Comelec-Davao will also start giving voters’ education in the villages by then. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)