By Genalyn Kabiling and Leslie Ann Aquino
Malacañang has appealed to poll candidates to follow the election laws as senatorial aspirants and party-list groups start hitting the campaign trail on Tuesday.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Malacañang hopes that these candidates would help ensure peaceful, fair, and credible elections this May.
“Every government, every administration always appeals to all the candidates to strictly observe the elections laws.
We have to have clean, honest, fair, credible elections,” he said during a Palace press briefing. Panelo also reminded Cabinet members and other government workers not to campaign for or against any candidate in the polls.
They have also been advised not to use government resources for the election campaign or any partisan political activity, he added.
“The President even asked, called upon with the members of the Cabinet to strictly follow the rules on the prohibition on government employees, officials not to campaign for or against any political candidate,” he said.
The President, on the other hand, is expected to endorse his preferred senatorial candidates in the May polls during the campaign period, according to Panelo.
He explained the President, who holds a political office, was exempted from the law prohibiting government workers from engaging in election campaign.
“But let me just emphasize that he will not be using government resources. In the course of his endorsement, it will be just verbal endorsement,” he said.
Prohibited campaign materials
Meanwhile, netizens were urged by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to report the presence of prohibited campaign materials of senatorial candidates and party-list organizations.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez issued the call in his Twitter account in view of the start of the campaign period for national candidates on Tuesday, February 12.
“Help identify illegally sized and illegally placed posters, using this template,” he said in his Twitter account @jabjimenez.
Jimenez said the report must indicate if the campaign material is oversized, out of place, or both.
It must also indicate the location of the illegal campaign material as well as the date when the picture was taken.
“Anonymous accounts may submit reports but must provide identity verification,” said Jimenez.
He said reports must be sent to any social media accounts of the Comelec, namely Twitter (@comelec); Facebook (facebook.com/comelecph); or Instagram (IG://comelectv).
“Use the hashtag #SumbongSaCOMELEC,” Jimenez said.
Earlier, the Comelec issued a notice reminding all candidates and parties to immediately remove all prohibited forms of election propaganda before the start of the campaign period.
“Otherwise, said candidate or party shall be presumed to have committed the pertinent election offense during the said campaign period for national candidates,” Jimenez said.
“Prohibited forms of election propaganda include those that are posted outside of common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the consent of the owner,” he added. #MatalinongBoto2019