Comelec: No legal prohibition vs premature campaigning

October 2, 2021 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 207 views

AN official of the Commissions on Elections (Comelec) yesterday reiterated that those who filed certificates of candidacy (COC) and will engage in early campaigns ahead of the official start will not be prohibited yet by the poll body.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guazon said there are no prohibitions yet for those who filed COC as they remain to be aspirants and not yet considered as candidates.

Guazon said that under the election law, those COC filers are considered official candidates only upon the start of the campaign period.

“They are covered by Comelec rules on campaigning only at the start of campaign period,” she added.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez earlier explained that legally, premature campaigning does not exist.

“So whatever they’re doing now will not be characterized as criminal premature campaigning. It will be characterized as freedom of expression,” he said.

According to Republic Act No. 9369 or the Poll Automation Law, “any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period.”

The campaign period for the national posts’ candidates is set from February 8 to May 7, 2022. Meanwhile, the campaign period for candidates in local elective posts is set from March 25 to May 7, 2022.

Aspirants to national posts started filing their COCs on Friday. The deadline is on October 8.