GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 April) — Commission on Elections (Comelec) personnel here have launched another round of massive dismantling or removal of campaign materials that were set up in places outside the designated common poster areas.
Lawyer Marlon Casquejo, acting city election officer, said a team from their office is currently making rounds of various private and public places within the city’s 26 barangays to check and clean up the illegally-posted campaign materials.
He said the initial rounds yielded a substantial load of dismantled campaign materials of candidates seeking various local posts.
“We confiscated and set them aside as evidences for the possible filing of disqualification cases later on against the violators,” he said.
The official said they have issued official notices to political camps and local candidates who own the dismantled campaign materials.
Casquejo said the notices specifically directed the concerned candidates to voluntarily remove or dismantle their illegally-posted campaign materials and posters within three days.
He said any candidate who will ignore the directive may be charged for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9006 or the Fair Elections Act.
RA 9006 only allows the posting of campaign materials in 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.
Lawyer Remlane Tambuang, Comelec Region 12 director, reminded local candidates to observe the rules on correct poster sizes and to place them at designated common poster areas.
He reiterated that campaign posters should not be placed in electric posts, trees, public property and public utility vehicles.
“Don’t attempt to violate any of our election laws because (Comelec) chairman (Sixto) Brillantes is serious in terms of imposing sanctions on the violators,” he added.
Tambuang said he earlier directed all election offices in the region to regularly check for campaign violations and report their violators.
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.
Although part of Region 12, Cotabato City is under the operational coverage of Comelec-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, specifically of Maguindanao province. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)