By Leslie Ann Aquino
We are as ready as we will ever be.
Thus, said Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Spokesman James Jimenez when asked regarding their state of readiness for the start of the campaign period for local positions on March 29.
“The campaign period pretty much runs by itself. Our only concern there is looking out for possible violations (of campaign rules),” he said in an interview.
“(And) With more than 18,000 positions in contention, you are looking at several thousands of candidates at play. You can tell that within two hours, our personnel will already be overwhelmed,” added Jimenez.
This, he said is also the reason why they need the help of the public in monitoring violations.
“The reports from the people are very vital as much as the Comelec needs to observe due process,” Jimenez said.
Earlier, the poll body already issued a notice to candidates regarding the start of the campaign period.
In the notice, the Comelec reminded local candidates to remove their premature campaign materials 72 hours before the start of their campaign period on March 29.
“The Comelec reminds candidates to immediately remove all prohibited forms of election propaganda at least 72 hours before the start of the campaign period,” read the Notice.
“Otherwise, said candidate or party shall be presumed to have committed the pertinent election offense during said campaign period for local candidates,” it further read.
Local candidates include those running for congressman, governor, vice governor, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), mayor, vice mayor, and members of Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) and Sangguniang Bayan (SB).
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.
Under the law, those who filed their Certificates of Candidacy will only become candidates at the start of the campaign period.
The campaign period for local candidates will run from March 29 to May 11.