Once the certificates of candidacy have been filed, the candidates begin to move in for their campaign. The new ones in the game are somewhat excited and eager while the veteran candidates appear calmer and would know when to act whenever they feel that the timing is right. Whatever status these candidates are in, they are still subject to the rules laid down by the Fair Election Act, or Republic Act 9006.
RA 9006 was enacted to govern the activities of candidates when they let the people know about their purpose/s for running in the elections as well as their unique platform for governance to persuade voters to choose them. It gives the Comelec the authority to fairly regulate their actions by prescribing the kind, size and allowable election paraphernalia that they could utilize including broadcasting using the mass media. For now, the Comelec has yet to come up with a policy on regulating political activity using the social media platform.
Under RA 9006 the size of handwritten or printed election paraphernalia must not exceed 8 ½ X 14 inches. Posters must not exceed 2X3 feet, and streamers to be used during a meeting or rally or announcing said meeting/rally must not exceed 3X8 feet. Said streamers may be displayed five days before the meeting or rally and shall be removed within 24 hours after the activity. But we are not expecting that crowd drawing events will be allowed during this time because the IATF rules could be violated.
The posters may be displayed in the common poster area designated by the Comelec or even in private places provided that the consent of the owner of such private building or place has been obtained. When it comes to television and radio advertisements, Comelec allows a maximum of 120 minutes of television advertising and 180 minutes of radio advertising for those running for the national positions. For local positions, the maximum time for TV advertising is 60 minutes while for radio, the maximum airtime is 90 minutes (Comelec Resolution 10488, January 30, 2019).
While the resolution mentioned above mentions the use of social media platforms in election campaign and defines certain activities being made using the internet, including posting and texting, it does not prescribe however, the duration, parameters and sanctions (when there is a violation), while using this new kind of platform and this is what we are expecting to be released sometime before the campaign season. The campaign period for those running for national positions shall be on February 8, 2021 to May 7, 2021 and for those running for local positions, the campaign period is set on March 25, 2021 to May 7, 2021.
There is more to campaigning than we think. When candidates speak, they share or give out something about themselves. Campaign period is a time for listening and discovering, no matter how small or limited it is. It gives us the reason.. the reason, no matter how real or unreal it is- about the person/s the voters are about to vote for.
Find out more about the do’s and don’t’s about campaigning on Friday, 15 October, 2021 at 9:00 o’clock in the morning, on Election Day at our Morining Balitaktakan segment on Regional News Group Luzon.
***Comment/s or opinion/s in this article are made in my own capacity as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.