MANILA – Aspiring to elective public office can be tricky and sometimes expensive, especially when it comes to persuading voters to get to know you and your platforms through massive campaigning and the use of legal electoral propaganda.
The beginning of his political journey begins with becoming a candidate – which refers to anyone seeking to hold elected office in public office.
It will be followed by the use of campaign and election propaganda, including:
Form organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of people for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking a campaign for or against a candidate;
Hold political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar gatherings, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate;
Make speeches, announcements or comments, or hold interviews for or against the election of any candidate for public office;
Publish or distribute campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate; or
Directly or indirectly solicit votes, pledges or support for or against a candidate.
Under Section 80 of Section 10 of the Omnibus Electoral Code (OEC), an election campaign or partisan political activity must only be conducted during the campaign period. Political parties can organize conventions or political meetings to nominate their official candidates within 30 days before the start of the campaign period and 45 days for presidential and vice-presidential elections.
What is illegal, what is not?
The “Comelec”Oplan BaklasThe operations allow the commission to remove oversized and illegally placed campaign materials.
The operations were toned down somewhat after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) regarding the dismantling of campaign paraphernalia displayed on private property.
But as the law states, campaign materials become illegal when displayed in restricted public areas and when they are larger than prescribed by the OEC.
Legal campaign material includes brochures, pamphlets, cards, decals, stickers, and other written or printed materials no larger than 8.5 x 14 inches.
The Fair Elections Act ruled that no campaign materials should exceed 2×3 feet, whether handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against a particular candidate.
Posters of canvas, paper or cardboard, framed or displayed, exceeding 2 feet by 3 feet in area, except that, on site and at a public meeting or gathering, or for announce the holding of said meeting or gathering, banners not exceeding 3 x 8 feet are authorized.
However, these banners can only be displayed one week before the date of the meeting or rally and must be removed within 72 hours.
All other forms of electoral propaganda are not prohibited by this code because the Commission may authorize after due notice to all interested parties and a hearing where all interested parties have had an equal opportunity to be heard, provided that the permission of the Commission is published in two newspapers with general circulation throughout the country for at least twice within a week of the granting of the permission.
The OEC also prohibits the removal, destruction, defacement, and prevention of distribution of legal election propaganda.
Any newspaper, newsletter, weekly, gazette or magazine advertisement, poster, pamphlet, circular, leaflet, sticker, banner, mere list of candidates or any political material published or printed for or against a candidate or a group of candidates for any public office shall bear and be identified by the words “paid by” followed by the true and correct name and address of the payer and by the words “printed by” followed by the true name and address and exact from the printer.
It is prohibited to erect, place, use, attach, float or display any billboard, tin sign, balloons, etc., of any size, shape, form or nature, advertising for or against a candidate or political party. .
It is also prohibited to purchase, manufacture, request, distribute or accept election propaganda gadgets such as pens, lighters, fans of any kind, flashlights, articles or sports gear, wallets, shirts, hats, bandanas, matches, cigarettes and love them.
However, campaign supporters accompanying a candidate are permitted to wear caps and/or shirts or T-shirts advertising a candidate.
Political advertisements or propaganda through cinematography, audio-visual units or other screen projections are prohibited, with the exception of television broadcasts which may be permitted as set forth below.
Any radio or television station is not permitted to sell or give away free airtime for campaigning and other political purposes, except to the extent permitted by this Code under the rules and regulations promulgated by Comelec.
In addition, any foreigner, whether a legal or natural person, is not authorized to help a candidate or a political party, directly or indirectly.
Strangers taking part in or influencing any election, or contributing or incurring expenses in connection with an election campaign or partisan political activity are illegal.
Any propaganda or prohibited election advertising is stopped, confiscated or demolished by the representative of the Commission with the express authorization of Comelec.
Thus, all candidates must ensure that their campaign materials are posted in the common posting areas prescribed by the Commission. (NAP)