Comelec-GenSan starts removing campaign posters in prohibited areas

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 February) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here has ordered the removal of various illegal campaign posters and other related materials that were posted outside the designated common posters areas within the city.

Anwar Paidumama, acting city election officer, said Monday a team led by personnel from the city election office is currently making the rounds of public areas to tear down or clear all illegally-posted campaign posters and materials.

He said such move was in compliance with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9006 or the Fair Elections Act, the Omnibus Election Code and other regulations for the upcoming May 13 midterm local and national elections.

It was specifically cited in Comelec Resolution 9615, which laid down the implementing rules and regulations for RA 9006, he said.

“We’ve already issued several warnings to the concerned parties last week regarding these illegal campaign posters but none of them heeded our call for their voluntarily removal,” Paidumama said.

The official said local Comelec personnel are being assisted by the city government’s clearing team in removing the illegal campaign materials, some of which were posted in trees, electric posts, walls of government offices and other public structures.

He said initial reports from the field cited that the illegally-posted materials were those of parylist groups.

He said they have so far not found posters of senatorial candidates being placed in prohibited areas.

The campaign period for the partylist and senatorial candidates started last Feb. 12 while those vying for local elective positions may start campaigning on March 29.

Section 7f of Comelec Resolution 9615 specifically prohibits candidates and political parties “to post, display or exhibit any election campaign or propaganda material outside of authorized common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the consent of the owner thereof.”

Section 35 of the Resolution and Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code provide that any violation of such rule would constitute an election offense punishable by imprisonment, disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.

Paidumama warned candidates who would be caught violating such provisions that they might face possible disqualification not only from campaigning but also from holding office should they win in the elections.

“Even if they win, their cases would still continue. In case a decision is later handed down and they’re already serving their position, they may still be removed from office,” he said.

The official added that while wooing the votes of their constituents, candidates should also prove that they can properly comply with the election regulations. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)