By Leslie Ann Aquino
An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) urged netizens to post on social media pictures of tarpaulins or posters of would-be candidates in the May 2019 polls that they see in cemeteries during the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said this is in order to make it known to people who are taking advantage of the lack of a law against premature campaigning.
“They are already doing it. I want people to see,” he said in his Twitter account @jabjimenez.
“Those actions are definitely premature campaigning. Unfortunately, as of now, the law does not provide any penalty for that,” added Jimenez.
The poll official earlier lamented how nearly all candidates especially those running for national posts, are now engaging in premature campaigning.
“Nearly all major senatorial candidates are openly campaigning now – taking full advantage of the premature campaigning loophole,” said Jimenez.
But Jimenez admitted that they cannot do anything to stop would be candidates from engaging in premature campaigning.
“We cannot stop them from engaging in premature campaigning but we are appealing to their delicadeza,” he said.
Based on Republic Act No. 9369, “any person who files his certificate of candidacy shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period.”
The campaign period for those running for national posts is from February 12, 2019 to May 11, 2019.
For local positions, the campaign period is from March 29, 2019 to May 11, 2019.