Robredo Supporters Take Comelec to Supreme Court Over Tarps

Comelec guidelines don't apply to private persons, petitions said.
Photo/s: Comelec/Facebook

Supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the Commission on Elections from applying its guidelines on posting campaign materials on private individuals.

In an extremely urgent motion to the high tribunal, the petitioners said Comelec Resolution 10730, which sets the guidelines for campaigning in the 2022 elections, applies only to candidates and political parties.

They asked the Supreme Court to order the Comelec to return and restore all tarpaulins, posters, billboards, and other election materials posted by private individuals within private property that were dismantled and confiscated under Oplan Baklas.

Citing the Supreme Court ruling on the Diocese of Bacolod vs. Comelec, the petitioners said private individuals have the right to express their beliefs in relation to the elections.

They argued that posting of election materials in their private property is an act of ownership, and any restriction against such right must be reasonable and covered by law.

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"To allow Comelec to continue in taking down their tarpaulins, posters, and other election materials would contravene the previous decision of the Supreme Court, and more importantly, the fundamental freedoms of speech, expression, and due process of law," the petitioners said in a statement.

Although they support the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo, the petitioners said the rights they assert in their petition applies to everyone, regardless of political beliefs.

The Comelec earlier said they are open to reviewing the guidelines on posting election paraphernalia, but Oplan Baklas will continue for posters that are posted in restricted areas.

"Hindi naman yung kabuuan ng Operation Baklas ang kontrobersyal, doon lang sa involved ang private property. But for the streets, yung mga nasa public spaces, yung nakakakabit sa kawad ng kuryente, tuloy kaming magbabaklas," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters.

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