Official campaign period for senatorial bets, party-list groups kicks off

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 12) — The campaign period for the 2019 midterm elections officially began Tuesday for senatorial candidates and party-list groups.

The regional political party of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), started its campaign early Tuesday morning in San Fernando, Pampanga.

HNP Chairperson Duterte-Carpio led the event at the provincial capitol. House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, who sponsored the kick off, were also present. HNP earlier coalesced with Pineda's regional party Kambilan.

HNP is endorsing 13 senatorial candidates for the 12 vacant Senate seats. These include the five senatorial candidates of the administration party PDP-Laban: Senator Koko Pimentel, former Special Assistant to the president Bong Go, former National Police Chief Bato dela Rosa, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, and former Presidential Legal Adviser Francis Tolentino. It is also endorsing re-electionist Senators Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito, and Sonny Angara, former Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, and Pia Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, and former journalist Jiggy Manicad.

In contrast to Hugpong's grand rally, the opposition coalition "Otso Diretso" kicked off its campaign going around houses in Caloocan City.

Seven of its eight senatorial candidates - Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, reelectionist Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, former Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Samira Gutoc, and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal - attended a media briefing, then campaigned in select areas near the San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan. Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas will have his own event in his hometown in Capiz, Roxas City.

They walked the streets of Caloocan City during a short parade, then went on their seperate ways to cover more grounds. This is in line with their listening campaign called "Project Makinig," where volunteers and supporters go around to listen to the concerns of ordinary Filipinos. Its campaign manager, Senator Kiko Pangilinan, said the information that will be gathered will be used to create Otso Diretso's legislative agenda.

Related: Pangilinan sees uphill climb for opposition Senate slate in 2019 polls

The opposition bets capped off their maiden campaign for the May elections with a mass at the San Roque Cathedral. They were joined by their families and supporters, including former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

 

Meanwhile, reelectionist Grace Poe — a constant  topnotcher in poll surveys — spearheaded a feeding program in Payatas, Quezon City.

 

Reelectionist Nancy Binay and senatorial aspirants Juan Ponce Enrile and Dan Roleda also kicked off their campaign with a motorcade in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

 

The end of the campaign period will be on May 11, and the elections will take place on May 13.

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), meanwhile, saId 14,000 personnel will be deployed in Metro Manila in preparation for the start of the campaign period.

In a statement Monday, NCRPO Chief Guillermo Eleazar said they would increase the frequency of checkpoints and have given strict orders to commanders in the field "to observe proper procedures and professionalism when conducting the checkpoints."

Eleazar also reminded candidates and political groups to coordinate with the authorities when it comes to permits for political rallies and miting de avance.

Campaign rules

Under campaign rules, tarpaulins and posters should not exceed two feet by three feet. They should only be put up in common poster areas identified by the election officer in a particular area.

Comelec Commissioner James Jimenez earlier said candidates may be held liable for campaign posters which aren't in common poster areas once the campaign season starts even if they didn't have a hand in putting them up.

The poll body will also keep an eye on television and radio advertisements placed by each candidate. Even the social media posts made by or for the candidate will be monitored. When it comes to commercials, senatorial candidates are allowed up to 120 minutes of airtime per television station and up to 180 minutes per radio station.

Senatorial candidates running under a political party can spend up to P183 million for their campaign while independent bets and party-lists have a spending cap of P305 million.