Robredo asks Congress to restore law vs. early, premature campaigning

Published November 7, 2018, 2:51 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Raymund Antonio

Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Wednesday called on Congress to restore a law that would prohibit premature or early campaigning.

Vice President Leni Robredo (Photo courtesy of Office of the Vice President of the Philippines via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Vice President Leni Robredo (Photo courtesy of Office of the Vice President of the Philippines via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo, a lawyer, said Senate and House lawmakers should take a look into the request of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the restoration of a law against premature campaigning.

“Nanawagan ako sa ating Kongreso na dinggin ang panawagan ng Comelec, at muling ibalik ang batas laban sa maagang pangangampanya,” she said.

(I’m calling on our Congress to listen to the Comelec and put back the law against early campaigning.)

Robredo, the leader of the opposition that has eight senatorial candidates for the 2019 polls, voiced support to the poll body in the absence of a law that stops politicians from engaging in premature campaigning.

The Vice President made the call to Congress, with the enactment of Republic Act 9639 or the Automated Election System Law, after which a Supreme Court decision removed premature campaign as election offense.

She cited the 2009 SC ruling on the disqualification case of then mayor Rosalinda Penera of Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte that voided Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Such ruling stated, citing RA 9369, that “a candidate is liable for election offenses only upon the start of the campaign period.”

“Dahil sa desisyong ito, nakikita natin na halos isang taon bago mag-eleksyon, laganap na ang mga billboard, tarp, at mensahe sa TV at radyo, ng mga nagbabalak kumandidato,” she said.

(Because of this decision, we were able to see that almost a year before the elections, the billboard, tarp, and messages on TV and radio of those who plan to campaign are prevalent.)

The Vice President said that premature campaigning should be stopped to ensure fair competition among candidates.

For the upcoming midterm elections, the poll body set the campaign period for national positions starting February 12, 2019, and on March 30 for local positions until May 11.

The posters and other election-related materials of senatorial hopefuls, however, have been seen way before February, even before they filed their certificates of candidacies last month.