Comelec admits hands tied on pre-campaign ads

By Ferdinand Patinio

February 18, 2019, 4:40 pm


MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it cannot control the spending on premature campaign advertisements of poll candidates prior to the start of the campaign period.

“Unfortunately, we cannot do anything about it,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in an interview.

Jimenez said the poll body only looks after the spending of candidates during the campaign period.

“All these happened before the campaign period. This is premature campaigning,” the poll body official said. “The Comelec only checks (expenses) during the campaign period. This is what we have been pointing as a loophole in the law.”

In a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the pre-campaign ad spending of some 18 senatorial candidates on TV, radio, print, and outdoor have already reached PHP2.4 billion.

The report said the spending covers the period between January 2018 to January 2019. (PNA)