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34 candidates in Philippines’ senatorial election warned over illegal posters

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the poll body has ordered the 34 candidates to take down their illegal posters.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

MANILA, Feb 15, 2019, PhilStar. At least 34 or more than half of the 62 senatorial candidates running in the May elections are in trouble for illegal posting of campaign materials, according to the Commission on Elections, reported the Philippine Star.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the poll body has ordered the 34 candidates to take down their illegal posters.

“We used to inform them in writing about their illegally posted posters without revealing it to the media. If they ignore this three-day notice rule and they won’t remove these posters, the Comelec will presume that it’s theirs. They can’t deny that,” Guanzon said yesterday.

She said the Comelec has repeatedly reminded all candidates to take down the illegal posters.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body has notified all senatorial candidates to take down their illegal posters.

“We have sent general notice for everyone, senatorial and party-list, to take down the illegal posters,” Jimenez said.

He said the candidates were given until yesterday to remove the illegal posters, adding they have yet to notify local candidates as the campaign period for local elections has yet to start on March 29.

The Comelec will deploy teams today to take down the illegal campaign posters and documents.

Failure of the candidates to comply with the rules will be investigated and acted upon by the Comelec legal department.

The Comelec is looking forward to clean elections as it linked up with the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) in efforts to stop government officials and employees from using public funds in the elections.

“Many have been prosecuted for using government funds for elections purposes, mostly local candidates. This time, hopefully they will be discouraged from doing it considering the President said it, the PACC said it and the Comelec said it,” Jimenez said.

He said government officials and employees could express their preference, but cannot impose this on others.

“Any report concerning government official or employee engaging in partisan politics will be investigated and acted upon,” he said.

“We will not spare anyone, President Duterte gave me an order that there will be no sacred cows,” Jimenez said.

He said the PACC would hold liable any government official or employee found guilty of using government resources for certain candidates.

The PACC has signed an agreement with the Comelec, Commission on Audit, Anti-Money Laundering Council and Security and Exchange Commission as well as other concerned government agencies to fully enforce the Omnibus Election Code.

“Take the President’s word seriously. Do not use government resources for any partisan politics,” Jimenez said.

PACC official Eduardo Bringas said they would work with non-government agencies and other non-partisan groups in looking out for government officials and employees who will engage in partisan politics.

Peace covenant

With the election-related violence intensifying, the Comelec has urged local government units to initiate peace covenants.

Jimenez said peace covenants could help prevent election-related killings.

“This early in the game, I believe we have outstripped the deadliness of the barangay elections, which is historically more hotly contested,” Jimenez said.

Data from the Philippine National Police showed the number of election “hotspots” rose to 701, which is nearly half or 42 percent of the country’s 1,634 cities and municipalities.

Jimenez said the rise in election-related violence could be due to the implementation of electoral reforms that prevents candidates from tampering with the results of the elections.

‘No dancers, green jokes’

Party-list group Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) yesterday urged the Comelec to ban female dancers and “green jokes” in the political campaign.

“We urge all women, specially Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, to put an end to the continued degradation of women. We appeal to female journalists covering the sorties to write articles about candidates who gyrate with female dancers on stage during campaign sorties. Help us inform those who view women as second class citizens,” PLM nominee Flora Santos-Assidao said.

She urged female candidates to stand up to their colleagues and to call them out even in public if the situation demands it.

Assidao urged candidates to refrain from using mysogynistic or sexually charged remarks.

Meanwhile, police officers will help the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) remove campaign posters from areas prohibited by the Comelec.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Eleazar ordered the five police district directors and 38 station commanders to help the MMDA in removing these illegal campaign posters.

Eleazar also ordered his men to prevent supporters of politicians from posting campaign materials in trees, flyovers, lampposts and other prohibited areas.

With Non Alquitran

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