DAGUPAN CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here on Tuesday warned aspirants for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) and their supporters to avoid campaigning on all platforms until Oct. 19, the start of the campaign period.
In an interview on Tuesday, Comelec Dagupan election officer Michael Franks Sarmiento said the aspirants are already considered candidates once they have filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs).
"Once nakapag-file na ng COC, hindi na sila puwedeng mangampanya dahil ang pangangampanaya ay nakatakda lang by Oct. 19 until Oct. 28 (Once they filed their COC, they are not allowed to campaign as the campaign period was set from October 19 to 28)," he said.
"Ang premature campaigning hindi lang nag-aaply sa naghain ng COC, kahit sa mga private citizens who are supporting the candidacy of an aspirant ay maari din silang makasuhan for premature campaigning (Premature campaigning does not only apply to those who have filed their COC, but even to private citizens who are supporting the candidacy of an aspirant may also be charged with premature campaigning)," he added.
Premature campaigning, he added, applies to all kinds of platforms, especially social media.
He urged the registered voters of the city to look out for premature campaigning posts on social media and file formal complaints with the Comelec.
“Halimbawa, nagsuot sya ng campaign shirt, may pangalan ng kandidato kahit hindi nakalagay yong position, tapos nag-post sa social media, nagsabit ng tarpaulins, namili ng boto, that is premature campaigning (For example, he wears a campaign shirt with the name (or face) of the candidate even though the position aspiring for was not indicated, and then posted it on social media, or the person hangs a tarpaulin, bought votes, that is premature campaigning),” he added.
Sarmiento clarified that a non-government organization where a candidate or an aspirant is a member can still conduct their projects like medical missions, dental missions, and feeding programs.
“Pwede nilang gawing ang mga ito basta wala yong kandidato doon mismo sa venue ng activity. Yong mga sponsors ng mission o advocacy, dapat walang ipino-promote na aspirant (They can still do these things provided the candidate is not present at the venue of the activity. The sponsors of mission or advocacy should not promote any candidate or aspirant)," he said.
Comelec Dagupan is expecting around 2,000 aspirants for the BSKE, including for members of the councils.
Meanwhile, the total number of regular voters in Dagupan City is 141,907; the qualified voters for the SK elections between 15 to 30 years old are 54,999.
Sarmiento said the term of office of those who will win in this election is two years.
Meanwhile, Comelec Dagupan encountered minor problems during the opening of the filing of COCs on Monday at the People’s Astrodome but these were immediately addressed.
Most of the problems we have encountered were the lack of documentary stamps in their documents and their COCs were not notarized. We expected this so we established the one-stop-shop where we invited the BIR, a notary public, and a photocopier operator to reproduce COC forms so that all the services needed by the aspirants were already here and they don’t need to go out of the venue," Sarmiento, speaking in Filipino, added.
He said many aspirants filed their COCs on Monday (Aug. 28) due to the belief that eight is a lucky number. (PNA)