By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has decided to relax implementation of its order directing all candidates to submit to the poll body the names and addresses of all online platforms that will be used to disseminate their campaign advertisements.
The decision was made after only a few candidates informed the commission of the names and links of their campaign websites.
As of Monday, only 29 out of 62 senatorial bets have submitted their web addresses to the Comelec. They are Sergio Osmeña III, Nancy Binay, Danilo V. Roleda, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Chel Diokno, Bam Aquino, Florin Hilbay, Mar Roxas
Koko Pimentel, Jiggy Manicad, Willie Ong, Neri Colmenares, Elmer Francisco, Juan Ponce Enrile, Samira Gutoc, Sonny Angara, Freddie Aguilar, Luther Gascon Meniano, Bong Go, JV Ejercito, Gary Alejano, Francis Tolentino, Erin Tañada, Raffy Alunan, Glenn Chong, Leodigario De Guzman, and Dong Mangudadatu.
A total of 75 out of 134 party-list groups have submitted links to their online platforms.
Of the 43,554 candidates running in the midterm elections, only 1,924 have submitted links to their campaign websites.
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said submitting links to their websites is not a “hard requirement” as this is the first time that the commission will use social media for monitoring candidates.
“Unang-unang time natin gagawin ito, so mas relax tayo sa implementation (We are doing this for the first time, so we are more relaxed with the implementation),” he told reporters.
“As of now, we are not looking at penalties yet,” he added. “We expect that not all candidates anyway are able to set up this sort of things, so it is possible that some really cannot submit anything.”
But Jimenez said the Comelec will still be able to monitor each candidate’s election expenses, even if they fail to submit links to their online platforms.
“Like what is indicated in our resolution, even though the candidates do not submit their URLs or uniform resource locators, or web address, we still have ways to know which websites basically behave as campaign outlets,” he said.
In a resolution last January, the Comelec directed all candidates to file the names and addresses of all online platforms that will be used to disseminate their campaign ads. This will then be used to track each candidate’s online campaign expenses.