Showing Dela Rosa biopic during campaign violates poll rules — Comelec

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 7) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) nixed the idea of showing a movie about a senatorial hopeful during the campaign period, saying this would violate election rules.

"Under the rules, the exhibition of any cinematographic work, any television program focusing primarily on the life of a candidate or featuring that candidate as the main player in that particular production is prohibited from the start of the campaign period. That's pretty clear," Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said.

Jimenez was referring to the movie on the life of former Philippine National Police Chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa.

Jimenez said the movie can only be shown before or after the campaign period, adding violating this rule would mean punishment of at least six months in prison.

He added, "If it can be proven that the exhibition was with the full knowledge and cooperation of the candidate, then I see no reason why that penalty cant reach up to the candidate... If the candidate knows and he didn't do anything, the argument can be made that it was with his approval."

Comelec to candidates: Take down campaign billboards

The commission has also reminded candidates to take down all billboards and large tarpaulins before the campaign period begins.

Jimenez said billboards violate two election rules – the limitation on size which requires campaign materials to be two feet by three feet at most and the requirement that election paraphernalia should be posted only in common poster areas.

"Since we haven't gotten yet to the campaign period, they (candidates) have a lot of leeway, they have a lot of freedom. But when campaign period starts, then regulation kicks in and all of the rules and restrictions will have to be respected," he said.

The Comelec will also issue regulations on campaigning using social media to effectively monitor the campaign expenses of candidates.

Jimenez said social media is now considered a form of mass media, hence, it is ripe for regulation. But he added the Comelec would not hinder freedom of expression or social media as a free marketplace of ideas.

Jimenez said social media was not regulated during previous elections; and despite heavy use by candidates, almost no one included it in their list of expenses.

He says regulations on social media will make sure candidates follow the limit on campaign spending.