GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/2 April)– The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Region 12 warned local politicians on Tuesday to properly comply with all election laws and rules to avoid facing possible sanctions that might jeopardize their candidacies.
Lawyer Remlane Tambuang, Comelec Region 12 director, stressed that the Comelec will not hesitate to penalize any candidate who will violate any provision of the Omnibus Election Code as well as resolutions and issuances in connection with the May 13 midterm national and local elections.
He said Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes has already issued warnings to some national candidates who were earlier found to have violated some election rules pertaining to the distribution and posting of campaign materials.
“The Comelec chairman is serious in terms of the full implementation of all election regulations, especially at the local level,” Tambuang said.
The official said he has directed all election offices in the region to monitor possible violations that will be committed by local candidates.
Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
He said they are specifically watching violations regarding the posting of campaign materials in non-designated common poster areas.
Comelec personnel will also monitor the prohibition on the posting of campaign materials at electric posts and trees.
“(Local candidates) should not ignore our election rules. They should follow it to the letter to avoid serious problems later on,” Tambuang said.
Duque Kadatuan, South Cotabato election supervisor, said they have assigned a team that will monitor possible campaign violations by local candidates.
He reiterated that their personnel are prepared to take down or dismantle any campaign material that will be found posted or raised outside the designated common poster areas.
Comelec-South Cotabato has jurisdiction over General Santos City and South Cotabato province’s 10 towns, including the capital Koronadal City.
“By procedure, we will immediately issue a notice for any violation that will be committed by any candidate or political camp regarding the posting of campaign materials. They are given three days to comply with the notice at their own expense,” he said.
Kadatuan admitted the posting of the campaign materials were usually “without the direct consent” of the candidate, “but if they are notified and still ignores them, it would mean that they have already given their consent.”
The official said Comelec will assume the dismantling of the campaign materials if the notified candidate will ignore them.
“But we will have to file a case against the violator and possibly impose other serious sanctions,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)