Comelec Warns: Don't Campaign Early

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines --- Local candidates were asked by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not to take advantage of the start of the campaign period for national bets to promote their own bids for the May 13 midterm polls.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said he is hoping that local candidates would just wait for the start of campaign period for local candidates on March 29.

The poll chief, however, stressed that there is no law that will be violated if and when local candidates promote themselves during the campaigning for national candidates.

"It is just like premature campaigning. They are not committing any offense in doing that since they are not considered candidates yet," said Brillantes.

"They (local) can be present in political rallies of national candidates. They are not prohibited but hopefully they will not abuse it," he added.

The poll automation law states that: "Any person, who files his certificate of candidacy shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period" for the position he/she is running for.

When Team PNoy held its proclamation rally in Plaza Miranda in Manila to introduce its 12-man senatorial ticket, the event saw the attendance of several local candidates that are part of the coalition, including the Liberal Party (LP) namely Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, Camarines Sur congressional bet Aga Muhlach, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, and Occidental Mindoro Vice Gov. Gene Mendiola.

Similarly, former president Joseph Estrada, who is running for Manila mayor, and suspended Cebu governor Gwen Garcia were present at the rally of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). …