By Charmaine Odong
CALAMBA CITY, Laguna– The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Region IV-A has warned all barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan aspirants against premature campaigning after filing their Certificate of Candidacy (COC) from August 28 to September 2, 2023.
“Premature campaigning is prohibited, which means that once an aspirant files their COC, they are considered a candidate and the prohibition on premature campaigning will take effect,” said lawyer Margaret Joyce M. Reyes-Cortez, COMELEC Assistant Regional Executive Director in Calabarzon.
Under the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), it is unlawful for any candidate, prospective candidate, party, or association of persons to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the campaign period.
“After filing the COC, engaging in electioneering is strictly prohibited under Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code,” Cortez said last Thursday during the Sulong Calabarzon program hosted by the Philippine Information Agency IV-A.
Based on its data as of August 29, the COMELEC has received 35,528 COCs for barangay positions while 23,928 COCs have been filed for SK positions in the entire region.
Cortez said COMELEC will treat premature campaigning as an election offense and any candidate who disregards this will be held liable for election code violations.
“They must ensure that after filing the COC, they remove their campaign materials, otherwise, they may be held liable for premature campaigning,” she added.
All candidates are prohibited to promote their advocacies on various platforms, hang posters on streets, or produce other election campaign-related materials from September 3 to October 18, 2023.
“We can file a verified complaint with the COMELEC law department against candidates who violate the prohibition on premature campaigning,” Cortez said.
She added those who file a verified complaint against candidates proven to be violating the law should also provide proof or evidence along with their complaint.
Election campaign period for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will run from October 19 to October 28 only. (PIA)