By ATTY. GREGORIO LARRAZABAL
The campaign for national candidates started on February 12. The campaign period for local candidates kicks off on March 29, a Friday. It would be good to go over a few of the basics that the local candidates and voters should be aware of.
Q: When is the Official Campaign Period for candidates?
A: The campaign period for national candidates is ninety days (90) before election day. Their campaign period started on February 12, 2019. The campaign period for local candidates starts forty-five (45) days before election day on May 13, 2019. That day falls on March 29, 2019.
Q: Are there days during the campaign period where national and local candidates are prohibited from campaigning?
A: All candidates are not allowed to campaign on the following days:
April 18, 2019 – Holy Thursday.
April 19, 2019 – Good Friday.
May 12, 2019 – day before the elections.
Q: What are the forms of campaigning?
A: There are several ways of campaigning. While national candidates focus on TV/radio/newspaper ads, local candidates usually focus on house-to-house campaigns, postering, and rallies/barangay meetings. Local campaigns are more personal, as compared to national campaigns because of the interaction the candidates have with the voters. For local campaigns, it’s still the handshake between the candidates and the voters which matters more than ads on the radio, TV, or newspapers.
Q: What traditional campaign materials are allowed during the campaign period?
A: 1. Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers, or other written or printed materials the size of which does not exceed eight and one half inches in width and fourteen inches in length.
- Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or candidate for public office.
- Cloth, paper, or cardboard posters, whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding two (2) feet by three (3) feet. At the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally or in announcing the holding of said meeting or rally, streamers not exceeding three (3) feet by eight (8) feet in size, shall be allowed. The streamers may be displayed five (5) days before the date of the meeting or rally and shall be removed within twenty-four (24) hours after the meeting or rally.
I just hope candidates will refrain from using plastics in their campaign materials. I hope candidates will instead focus on environment-friendly campaign materials. Also, after elections, let’s hope candidates and their supporters will help in properly disposing of the campaign materials posted during the campaign period (or even earlier).
Q: How much are candidates allowed to spend during the campaign period?
A: For candidates with valid CONA issued by a registered political party – three pesos (P3.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where the candidate filed his certificate of candidacy.
For independent candidates – five pesos (P5.00) for every voter currently registered in the constituency where the candidate filed his/her certificate of candidacy
So, if an individual is running for mayor in a town with 10,000 registered voters, he/she is allowed to spend only P30,000 during the campaign period. If one is running as an independent candidate, he/she is allowed to spend fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) within the forty-five day period.
I know the figure is very low. This is one reason I, and several others have advocated for an increase in the campaign spending limit. I hope the next Congress give this the attention it deserves, and re-evaluate our numerous election laws.
Please also note that ALL candidates, whether they win or not, are required to submit their Statement of Contribution and Expenditures to Comelec within thirty (30) days from election day.
Feel free to send me your questions thru:
Email: [email protected]