Reelectionist Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago appealed to the media and electoral watchdogs to take photos of violations of the recent Comelec resolution implementing the Fair Elections Act, such as oversize streamers and posters on trees, and other prohibited places.
Santiago said that outside of city centers, candidates are “running rampant” in using prohibited election propaganda.
Santiago cited the following illegal propaganda which violates the Comelec resolution:
- Campaign materials posted outside the common poster areas designated by the Comelec, such as those posted in streets, bridges, public structures or buildings, trees, electric posts or wires, schools, shrines, and main thoroughfares;
- Posters of individual candidates with dimensions exceeding two by three feet; and
- Posters in private places without the consent of the owner.
Santiago called on fellow candidates to post their campaign materials only at designated common poster areas.
“Even if its election season, who wants to see the faces of politicians plastered all over their neighborhood?,” Santiago said. “Our communities have turned into eyesores because every available surface is covered by these illegal campaign posters.”
According to Santiago, the above illegal propaganda constitutes election offenses. The penalty for such election offense is imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years, and the person guilty shall not be subject to probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be disqualified from holding public office and shall not be allowed to vote.
Persons posting at prohibited places such as in streets, bridges, public buildings, trees, and the like shall be liable together with the candidates and other persons who caused the posting. The candidates are presumed to have caused the posting of campaign materials at prohibited places if they do not remove them within three days from notice from the local Comelec election officer.
“In Philippine electoral history, has any candidate been charged or convicted of these violations, even when they have turned the country into a virtual wasteland of illegal campaign propaganda?” Santiago said. “The Comelec and the public must be vigilant, and must hold these crooks accountable for their illegal acts.”
Under the Comelec rules, the above prohibited campaign materials can be summarily confiscated, removed, destroyed, or torn down by Comelec officers, at the expense of the candidate, political party, or person responsible for the illegal materials.