By Patricia Ongsiako
The Commission on Elections reports initial violations of election campaign rules on the first day of the campaign period.
Comelec sources said Tuesday that there have been reports of possible violations along España and Quezon Boulevard, even as Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez disclosed the Commission will be reasonably liberal in implementing campaign rules due to the scheduled Liberal Party campaign rally in the area.
He added that the same consideration will be accorded to the UNA campaign rally in Cebu City.
The Comelec spokesman explains that violations that may have been committed by political groups or candidates, such as posters in the vicinity of campaign sorties not in accordance with prescribed rules, or attached to electric posts, will be tolerated for as long as these are removed within 24 hours after the rally.
If not, Jimenez says, the Comelec will print out photos of these violations, indicate where and when these violations were seen and forward these to the Comelec's Law Department.
The Law Department will then send out notices to the candidates involved to remove the prohibited materials within three days, or else they risk being cited for an electoral offense.
Jimenez reminds the public not to take it upon themselves to remove any prohibited campaigns materials to avoid possible confrontations with those who had posted these prohibited materials.
Instead, Jimenez advises, the public can take a photograph and report the apparent violation directly to Comelec via its social media sites, reiterating that it is the candidate's responsibility to removing illegal campaign materials.
He underscored that all campaign materials found outside designated common poster areas may be cited for campaign violations.
The common areas, he pointed out, were designated in order to help maintain cleanliness, control campaign costs, and provide an even playing field for all candidates.
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Pia Hontiveros, Chief Correspondent and anchor of Solar Network News and News.Ph, presents the Solar News and Current Affairs year-ender special: On the Cusp of Change. A deafening silence, not out of a loss for words but a grief that cannot be spoken, for thousands lost to a super typhoon ... A muted pain from a powerful tremor that violently shook the heart of the nation ... An unspeakable anger over pork barrel that fueled a political maelstrom ... These and other stories from the extraordinary challenging year that was.