Candidates have until Thursday to remove illegal posters, COMELEC warns

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — After noting multiple violations on the first day of the campaign period, the Commission on Elections warned candidates they have until Thursday to remove illegal posters before they take action.  

"We will continue monitoring the status of compliance (with campaign rules) and by Friday we will be documenting everything (posters) that (hasn't) been taken down," COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez told CNN Philippines' New Day.  

 

According to COMELEC rules, campaign posters should not exceed two by three feet and should only be displayed in common posting areas identified by local election officers. 

Jimenez said candidates will be held accountable for the violation of these rules regardless if they say it was their supporters who voluntarily displayed the illegal posters.  

"Yung materials na yan nakakabenepisyo pa rin sa inyo. Kapag kayo ay sinabihan at hindi niyo tinanggal (Those materials are benefitting you. If you are rebuked and yet you do not remove the materials) then the law can presume that you are taking advantage, you are benefiting from it so you are just as responsible," Jimenez addressed candidates during a press conference on Wednesday.  

Jimenez said they observed several violations at the start of the campaign period on Tuesday.  

"We did see a lot violations, all of the campaign posters that haven't been taken down were pretty much evidence," he said. 

Petitions can be filed against candidates should an offense be reported and validated. A private party can file a complaint against a candidate and it will go through the validation process, Jimenez explained. Sanctions for a violation include disqualification or imprisonment of up to six years. 

"We'll have to start the process against them. We'll have to evaluate whether or not they committed an election offense, if they did then petitions can be filed against them for that," he said. 

The spokesman added that he does not recommend that the public immediately remove questionable posters unless allowed by election officers.  

Senatorial candidates are also only allowed up to 120 minutes of airtime per television station, and up to 180 minutes per radio station. Candidates for local posts are allowed 60 to 90 minutes per station.