No poll rule broken in Bong Go following Duterte's trail, Comelec says

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President Rodrigo Duterte is with his former special assistant and senatorial aspirant Christopher "Bong" Go at the Barangay Summit on Peace and Order in Pasay City on January 8, 2019.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 5) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said there was no problem with senatorial aspirant Bong Go accompanying President Rodrigo Duterte in his trips.

"Freedom of movement. Guy wants to follow the President. Why not, right?" Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a press briefing Tuesday.

Go, former special assistant to the President, resigned effectively in October 2018 after he filed his certificate of candidacy for senator. He has been seen following Duterte in various events and travels after his resignation.

Comelec did not find any problem with this, as campaign season will begin only on February 12 for senatorial and party-list candidates.

"Acts of omissions for which a candidate can be held accountable cannot apply if he is not technically a candidate," Jimenez said. "A lot of people might find it distasteful. A lot of people might find it to be an unfair practice. Hopefully, if people feel a certain way, then take it out on the ballot."

However, if Go continues to tag along with the President during the campaign period, Jimenez said they will look into whether or not government funds are being used for Go's trips.

The start of the campaign period for members of the House of Representatives, and local officials will start on March 29. The end of the campaign period will be on May 11.

Duterte has repeatedly endorsed Go for senator.

Social media influencers also monitored

The poll body also said it will monitor social media influencers who post content in favor of candidates, as part of Comelec Resolution 10488.

"We are looking for the spending," Jimenez said.

Jimenez said they will also look at overall patterns of behavior online.

Section 6 of the Comelec resolution lists among lawful election propaganda "social media posts, whether original or reposted from some source, which may either be incidental to the poster's advocacies of social issues or which may have, for its primary purpose, the endorsement of a candidate only."