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Comelec Stands By Removal of Oversized Campaign Posters

Rules must be followed, according to the poll body.
by Erwin Colcol
Feb 16, 2022
Photo/s: Screenshot from Comelec/Facebook

The Commission on Elections on Wednesday urged those who are complaining about the removal of campaign posters that don't follow the guidelines to file a complaint.

Authorities removed huge tarpaulins promoting the candidacies of Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis Pangilinan along EDSA in Quezon City, as seen in a livestream on Comelec's Facebook page earlier in the day.

"I recommend anyone who has a problem with what we're doing to file a complaint," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in response to critics of the poll body's "Oplan Baklas".

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A billboard of presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was also seen being dismantled.

Under Comelec Resolution 10730, which sets the guidelines for campaigning in the 2022 elections, the following are considered lawful election propaganda:

  • 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 14 inches in length;
  • Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or candidate for public office; and
  • Cloth, paper or cardboard posters, whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding 2 feet by 3 feet, except that, 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 3 feet by 8 feet in size.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who also serves as Robredo's counsel, said the Comelec has no authority to remove oversized campaign materials as long as they are posted within private property with the consent of the owner.

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"Mali at labag sa Saligang Batas na basta na lamang binabaklas ng Comelec ang mga campaign materials na ito na hindi binibigyan ng pagkakataon na marinig muna ang panig ng mga nagpost ng nasabing campaign posters," he said in a statement.

Macalintal cited the Supreme Court ruling on Timbol vs. Comelec which states that the poll body can act motu propio or on its own only if the affected individual's side is heard in court.

"Maging ang pagtakda ng sukat ng campaign materials na pinapaskel ng non-candidates sa pribadong lugar ay hindi rin maaaring pakialaman ng Comelec. Ito ay sa dahilang ang mga batas sa halalan tungkol sa campaign materials ay para lamang sa mga kandidato at hindi sakop ang mga hindi kandidato," Macalintal also said.

Jimenez said the Comelec was only implementing the rules when it forcibly removed campaign posters that don't follow the guidelines.

"We are taking steps to make sure that our laws are complied with and we're gonna continue doing that. If anyone feels that they have an action against the Comelec, they should pursue that," he added.

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The official campaign period for national candidates began on Feb. 8 and will continue until May 7, two days before election day.


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