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Comelec plans to charge candidates for expenses incurred from removal of billboards

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By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Commission on Elections is eyeing the possibility of charging to candidates the expenses for the removal of their huge billboards to further discourage them from violating election laws.

“I was suggesting to the Commission en banc today that we just rent or contract with a company that will remove these billboards and we will, by law, charge the expenses to them (candidates),” Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in an interview Wednesday.

“We cannot just keep on removing these things because the candidates must learn a lesson. They should remove their (billboards),” she added.

Last week, the poll body started monitoring the illegal campaign materials of senators and partylist groups running in the May 13 midterm polls following the start of the campaign period for national candidates.

The campaign period for national candidates started February 12 and will end on May 11.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, meantime, advised the public to just report to the poll body if they see illegal campaign posters of candidates instead of personally taking it down.

“Technically, people can take them down. But I will not advice it because it is dangerous,” said Jimenez.

“You can report them to us and we can file the case. We will inform the concerned election officer so he/she can personally see it and file the appropriate case,” explained Jimenez.

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