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Comelec makes last-minute reminder to put down illegal campaign materials

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 11 February 2019 01:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has reminds candidates to remove illegal campaign materials within the last 72 hours before the official campaign period starts.

The campaign period for national candidates shall start on February 12 and March 29 for candidates for local positions.

The poll body said that once campaign period begins, all campaign posters and tarpaulins should follow the proper size of 2 feet by 3 feet and should be placed in common poster areas designated by the agency.

Otherwise, concerned candidates will be charged of election offense and will be penalized under the Omnibus Election Code.

The Comelec began conducting its “Oplan Baklas” on Monday (February 11) together with personnel from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which aims to remove all illegal campaign materials. – UNTV News and Rescue

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PNP warns dismissal against ‘moonlighting’ cops

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 14 February 2019 02:40 PM

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Cops illegally escorting politicians will face charges from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Internal Affairs Service (IAS).

Based on PNP and Comelec policies, a politician is entitled to two police escorts only, so as not to be suspected of having a private army that can sow terror among the public and rival candidates.

“To give color na wala silang PAGs (private armed groups) ay mga pulis ang kanilang ginagamit. Kapag mag-request ka ay dalawa lang,” PNP-IAS Inspector General Atty. Alfegar Triambulo said.

“(Mayroon) hihingi itong kandidato sa isang munisipyo sa mayor ng dalawa. (Tapos) hihingi pa sa ibang munisipyo ng dalawa. Iyong isa naming namonitor ay 16 lampas pa ang lagi niyang kasama kahit siya’y namamalengke. So meron pa rin syang private armed group na puro naman mga pulis,” he added.

In line with this, Triambulo said they are conducting spot inspections in different regions across the country especially in areas with intense political rivalry and rampant vote buying.

“So para maging neutral at non-partisan ang ating mga kapulisan, kami’y naglulunsad ngayon ng intelligence activities at conduct ng spot inspection na ang pulis ay nasa kanilang mga unit nagbabantay,” the official said.

Triambulo warned police who will be caught ‘moonlighting’ and practicing partisan politics may be dismissed from service.

“Kapag ikaw ay naging bodyguard ng isang pulitiko na hindi otorisado, ito po ay grave misconduct,” he stressed.

“Ang kaparusahan niyan ay dismissal from the service,” he warned.

Since the start of the campaign period, a total of 16 cops in Region 9 or Zamboanga Peninsula have been relieved due to ‘moonlighting’.

According to Triambulo, the said cops were caught illegally servicing the mayor of Sindangan in Zamboanga del Norte.

It was earlier revealed by Police Regional Office 9 Director PCSupt. Emmanuel Licup that it was not the first time that he relieved the chief of police and some members of the Sindangan Police Office over to repeated moonlighting cases. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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Daraga Mayor Baldo remains suspended despite release – Comelec

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 14 February 2019 09:45 AM

Daraga town Mayor Carlwyn Baldo

ALBAY, Philippines – Suspended Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo was temporarily released from detention after posting bail on Wednesday (February 13).

According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Regional Office 5, Baldo cannot return to office as his preventive suspension remains in effect.

Comelec Region 5 assistant regional election director, Atty. Romeo Serrano said agencies involved in the special task force need to convene first and discuss whether or not they would allow Baldo to return as mayor of Daraga especially that it is now under Comelec control following a series of crimes against local executives in the city,

“Hangga’t hindi pa sila nag-convene, whatever is allowed under the government code, kung sabihin ng DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government ) na comply with this verse and kung ano ang requirements for re-assumptions under the code,” said Serrano.

Baldo has been released after posting bail amounting to P3 million cash and P4 million worth of property bond for his case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives as ordered by Judge Maria Theresa San Juan Loquillano of Legazpi City Regional Trial Court Branch 10. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Allan Manansala)

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Comelec warns candidates: Paid social media commenters count

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 05:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Election (Comelec) is faced with the huge task of monitoring campaign spending, even more so with the rise of social media as the most popular medium for candidates to widen their reach.

In its Resolution 10488, Comelec has included rules on the use of social media as instrument for campaign.

According to Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez, the poll body has required all candidates and political parties to submit the uniform resource locator (URL) of their official pages for the Comelec to monitor their social media activities.

These include the website name and address, whether its an official blog site or social media page.

“Kung ano iyong official outlets nila online ay kailangan i-inform nila kami. Hindi natin mino-monitor ang volume ng labas nila. Ang mino-monitor natin ay ang cost ng content,” Jimenez said on Tuesday (February 12).

“Halimbawa, you have a thousand followers. You can boost it to more than 50,000 by spending some money. Iyon ang tina-track natin na expense. Because we know what their URLs are, alam natin kung saan natin hahanapin iyong mga campaign materials nila,” he added.

The poll body created a specific group of personnel who will focus on tracking down the candidates’ online bloggers and social media influencers to lead them to the candidates and make sure that no one will be able to escape the rules.

“Iisa naman ang template nila so hanapin mo iyong source. Huwag tayong ma-obsess sa mga galamay. Doon tayo sa pinanggalingan, iyon ang hahabulin namin,” Director Jimenez said.

Jimenez emphasized, however, that hiring social media associates or commenters must be reported to the poll body.

“Kapag nalaman (namin) na mayroon kang social media associates o gumagamit ka ng paid social media commenters, that would be included in your cost. Kasama iyan sa cost na kailangan mong ireport na ikaw ay naghire ng mga personnel for the campaign para ang trabaho lamang ay to influence a discourse,” the Comelec Spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the poll body clarified that they do not count any post from a person that may benefit a candidate specifically those which cannot be considered as high value promotions.

“Mostly pasok iyan sa free expression,” Jimenez explained.

“You can literally post 24 hours a day and it will not make a difference. The only thing is kapag nag-promote ka ng post mo or naglabas ka ng content na medyo high value, high quality ay kailangan mong i-report. Iyon lang naman ang nire-regulate natin,” he added.

An election law expert said candidates should abide by the Comelec rules being the government body authorized to conduct and ensure a peaceful and orderly elections.

Atty. George Erwin Garcia noted, however, that the only thing questionable would be if the Comelec is doing a legislative function when it should only be executing the law.

“These will be issues which will be raised definitely in the Supreme Court. The Comelec can always interpret the law kung saan nila gustong i-interpret simply because under the Constitution, the Comelec is there to implement and supervise the conduct of the election,” Garcia concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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