A former poll commissioner yesterday urged the Commission on Elections to regulate not only the campaign spending of candidates and party-list groups running for the 13 May 2019 elections but also their official social media (socmed) platforms.
In a TV interview, former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the poll body should require candidates to allow Comelec access to their platform dashboard.
With the spread of fake news and disinformation online, he said the poll body should also look into the content of the social media platforms of candidates and party-list groups.
“I am more concerned about monitoring content because there’s a lot of disinformation now for or against particular candidates. If you focus on that, I think that would have more tangible results as compared to just monitoring of expenses,” he said.
He said the Comelec can do this by deputizing various organizations in monitoring the social media assets of bets and groups.
“Comelec simply deputizes organizations who have been doing it, doing it well, they do the work for Comelec. It can be done. They would be acting as agents of Comelec,” he said.
Despite the growing influence of social media, particularly Facebook, on the electoral campaign Larrazabal noted that people are now more alert and discriminating about fake news. He opined the traditional mode of campaigning would still play the larger role in the coming 13 May 2019 polls.
“How important is Facebook? It may be a factor in national elections. But local, it’s still boots on the ground. It’s still candidates shaking the hands of people or doing whatever it needs to have a personal interaction with voters,” he said.
Larrazabal also said traditional media still has the edge over social media platforms as an effective campaign tool.
“If you want to campaign effectively, still use traditional media,” he suggested.
Meanwhile, the former poll commissioner also urged Congress to revise the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code to update the election law on present realities, not only on the existing prohibitions but also on spending limits imposed on candidates.
Likewise, he suggested the law should be amended so a person should be immediately considered a candidate upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy and that the monitoring of his campaign expenses should start from the same time.
“The advantage here [for the candidates] is whatever expenses you have or incur before the start of the campaign period, that’s not part of your official campaign expenses so you’re not required to include that in your Statement of Contributions and Expenditures,” he said.
Campaigning on traditional media is still a better option for national election candidates than relying on social media, says former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal. #ANCEarlyEdition #Halalan2019
Posted by ANC 24/7 on Wednesday, 9 January 2019