DAVAO CITY — An official of the Commission on Elections admitted that their hands are tied over the premature campaigning of some candidates due to an existing ruling of the Supreme Court.
Atty. Marlon Casquejo, Comelec assistant regional election director, said it is unfortunate that the Supreme Court ruling has blocked them from sanctioning candidates who are campaigning before the start of the actual campaign period.
“We are hand-tied. We cannot act on that because of the Supreme Court ruling,” said Casquejo.
Section 15 of RA 8436, as amended by Section 13 of RA 9369, provides that “[a]ny person who files his certificate of candidacy within [the period for filing] shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy.”
The campaign period for candidates for the president, vice president, senators and partylists is scheduled on February 9 to May 7, next year, while the campaign period for local candidates is set on March 25 to May 7, 2016.
“May Supreme Court ruling din na sinabi na that’s freedom of expression, so that is guaranteed by the Constitution. So hindi natin pwede i-control yung freedom of expression (There’s also a Supreme Court ruling that says that it’s freedom of expression, so that is guaranteed by the Constitution. So we cannot control freedom of expression),” said Casquejo.
“In as much as we want to regulate it or to cut it, (our hands are tied) because of the Supreme Court ruling. That’s the sad thing about it,” he added.
He said they are instead advising the voters to notice the candidates who are already campaigning.
“You can see who are those campaigning this early. If they cannot follow a simple rule, how much more if they already are in that position?” said Casquejo. (davaotoday.com)