Comelec, poll watchdogs ask voters not to support politicians who engage in premature campaigning

Published June 29, 2021, 10:40 AM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said voters can help stop premature campaigning by not supporting those who engaged in such activities in the May 2022 polls.

Comelec/MB

In an online forum, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said people should not reward bad behavior.

“Don’t vote for them. Don’t reward bad behavior. Make sure to choose those who don’t violate the rules even before the game has started,” he said Monday, June 28.

“Make sure to apply that same standard whether you want the candidate or not,” added Jimenez.

Poll watchdog groups echoed what Jimenez said.

In a virtual media forum, the COMELEC, National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), and Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) unanimously called on voters not to vote for candidates engaged in premature campaigning.

“We should not reward bad behavior. This is already a portent of things to come. We can already see a glimpse of this kind of leadership or kind of integrity this person has,” National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) Secretary General Eric Alvia said

“We shouldn’t support those committing violations ahead of the campaign period. Our campaign has always been don’t vote for such candidates,” Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) Senior Project Director Brizza Rosables said.

A number of politicians already have advertisements on television ahead of the May 2022 polls.

Based on Republic Act 9369 or the Poll Automation Law “any person who files his certificate of candidacy (COC) shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period” and that “unlawful acts applicable to a candidate shall be in effect only upon that start of the campaign period.” This provision was affirmed by the 2009 Supreme Court case of Penera vs. Comelec, which paved the way for the removal of premature campaigning as an election offense.

 
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