Former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal warned candidates running for national positions from participating in medical missions following the start of the campaign period on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
According to Larrazabal, local candidates can still give donations for medical missions. However, senatorial aspirants and party-lists cannot participate or have their campaign materials used in such events without declaring it as part of their campaign.
“That is still a form of campaigning. Kung mag-bibigay ka dapat i-declare mo iyan. Lahat ng gagawin mo as a senatorial or partylist organization candidate declared na iyan,” Larrazabal said during an exclusive interview with DZRH.
“It’s the start of the campaign period. Until yesterday, pwede pa, ngayon hindi na,” Larrazabal added.
Larrazabal also reminded candidates and partylists to follow the prescribed size for election posters. He said that tarpaulins and posters should not exceed 2 feet by 3 feet.
However, the former poll head added that paraphernalia used for rallies can be as large as 5 feet by 8 feet but must immediately be removed after the activity.
He also explained that candidates and party-lists can have larger promotional materials in the headquarters that they declared during the filing of their certificate of candidacy.
Aside from over-sized posters, candidates must not also have any billboards in roads and highways even if they’re endorsing a product and not their candidacy.
“At the end of the day, it promotes the candidacy of the individual so bawal iyon,” Larrazabal stressed.
According to Larrazabal, upon receiving a complaint, COMELEC will notify senatorial aspirants and party-lists regarding their illegal campaign materials, and they will have three days to remove it.
The poll body can file charges against candidates who failed to remove prohibited campaign materials.
“Within three days dapat tanggalin na iyan. Kung hindi nila tatanggalin, the presumption is sila ang nag-pakabit or they agreed to the material to be posted. Then, pwede silang kasuhan o i-demanda ng COMELEC,” Larrazabal explained.
Larrazabal added that candidates need to acquire permission from the propers mayors before conducting motorcades or other campaign events.
Candidates must also declare the items, including t-shirts, that they distributed for such events in their Statement of Contribution and Expenditures (SOCEs), which needs to be submitted before or on June 12.