MANILA, Philippines - With the campaign period for national positions set to start Tuesday, candidates should monitor well their propaganda expenditures as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) vowed to go after violators of the rules on campaign spending.
“The start of the campaign period also marks the start of the regulation of campaign propaganda and the accounting of campaign expenditure,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes posted on his Twitter account yesterday.
Brillantes said many candidates have been abusing the lack of laws on premature campaigning, so this time the poll body is bent on strictly implementing the election policies.
The Supreme Court (SC) decriminalized electioneering in November 2009, in a ruling on the case of Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte Mayor Rosalinda Penera.
Penera was charged with premature campaigning for holding a motorcade right after filing her certificate of candidacy on March 29, 2007 for that year’s election. The campaign period started the following day, and the court dismissed the charges against her.
Brillantes warned that violators of campaign rules – like the size and location of propaganda materials – will face “criminal liability” tantamount to an election offense punishable with up to six years imprisonment, and disqualification from holding public office.
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“Thus I urge candidates to read and study all pertinent rules and regulation regarding campaign and expense monitoring to avoid surprises,” he said.
Apart from the size and location of campaign posters and streamers, the Comelec will strictly implement the rule requiring both winning and losing candidates to submit their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) within 30 days after election day.
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Philippines is now the “rising tiger” of Asia as the government’s economic initiatives and political reforms have begun to bear fruit, the World Bank said yesterday.
“The Philippines is no longer the sick man of East Asia, but the rising tiger. There is macroeconomic stability, and the fiscal situation of the government is sound and improving. The fight against corruption is being waged with determination and it is paying off. Transparency is improving everywhere in the Philippines,” Motoo Konishi, WB country director for the Philippines, said at the closing of the 2013 Philippine Development Forum at the Marco Polo Hotel here.
Konishi said foreign funding agencies are convinced of the government’s sincere commitment to good governance and that such sincerity has attracted investments and paved the way for inclusive growth in the coming years.
“The objective of putting the country irreversibly onto a path of inclusive growth – growth that creates jobs and reduces poverty is within reach,” the WB official said. “We have noted the hard-fought battles over key reforms. We have seen the improvements in the budget: better prioritization, better execution, better monitoring and more transparency,” he pointed out.
“We welcome the scaling up of expenditures on health, education and social protection. We are seeing infrastructure spending going up and becoming more strategic and efficient,” Konishi added.
Speaking in the same forum, President Aquino voiced his wish for stronger partnership between the country and funding institutions.
Some 1.1 million ballots for the May 13 automated elections have been printed by the National Printing Office (NPO) three days after it started its work, Commission Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Thursday.
But Brillantes was quick to admit that the printing was not as fast as expected.
“Ngayon mga one million one na siguro (1.1 million ang napi-print), which is mahina yun, mahina yun,” he told reporters.
The Commission on Elections should require television stations that have aired the life story of any candidate before the start of the campaign period to extend the same privilege to other candidates, said lawyer Romulo Makalintal.
According to him, Chairman Sixto Brillantes has admitted that “airing the episodes of the life story of a senatorial candidate is obviously campaigning” but discounted premature campaigning because under Section 13 of Automated Election Law, “unlawful acts applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the campaign period” which starts on February 12 for national candidates and March 29 for local bets.