‘Realistic’ polls rules needed

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday raised the need to update the rules and regulations on election campaigning — including one on spending limit – calling the present set of polls laws as outdated.

In a radio interview, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the provision on candidates’ spending limit is no longer attuned to the times.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the provision on candidates’ spending limit is no longer attuned to the times

He said the “three pesos per voter” cap is no longer realistic.

According to Jimenez, a candidate for partylist representative can spend P3 per voter while each political party can spend P5 per voter.

An independent candidate, meanwhile, can spend P5 per voter as per election rules.

The poll body spokesman said the Comelec has been pushing for a spending limit that is “movable” to make it easier for the candidates to adjust.

“We have already called on the increase of minimum spending in the past,” Jimenez said. “But all rules have been made and implemented to ensure that candidates will not go beyond the spending limit.”

Earlier, Jimenez had said the candidates’ campaign on social media must also be regulated.
Cost of a social media campaign is not yet required in the Statements of Contributions and Expenditures.

Jimenez also reminded the candidates about the consequences of putting up illegal campaign paraphernalia and reiterated that candidates who post campaign posters in areas not designated by the poll body may face disqualification.

He said the size of campaign posters should be 2×3 feet and campaign materials may be posted in common poster areas, as well as in private properties with consent of the owners.

However, the spokesman clarified that candidates are still entitled to due process if they have violated any campaign rule. The Comelec is also drafting its policy regarding electronic billboards, reminding candidates to be cautious in using them.

Jimenez reiterated that the Comelec is coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Department of Public Works and Highways for “Operation Baklas” or the removal of illegal campaign posters.

The Comelec, in a resolution last week, ordered all candidates and political parties to register their website addresses, blogs and social media pages, marking the first time that these would be covered by campaign regulations and monitored.

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