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Comelec drive vs illegal posters on

MANILA, Philippines - As the campaign period for local positions opens, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will remove illegal political posters starting today and will go after violators of rules on the display of campaign materials.

“We have instructed our people to start sending notices to take down illegally placed posters and campaign materials by April 1,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said yesterday.

Brillantes warned that the Comelec is serious in prosecuting violators of election regulations, stressing that the poll body will hold accountable all candidates who will violate election rules.

For this reason, Brillantes said, the Comelec ordered the early notification of candidates found violating campaign regulations so that erring politicians can be weeded out from the coming elections.

“This is so that the three days will start immediately and if they do not follow, we can already start the process (of penalizing them),” Brillantes said, referring to the three-day window for compliance.

Comelec Resolution 9615 mandates parties and candidates to post campaign materials only in authorized common poster areas in public places and in private places provided it has the consent of the owner.

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Candidates who will violate the prohibition face an election offense, which carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of the right to vote, and prohibition to occupy public office.

The Comelec is required to send notices to candidates, who are given three days to remove the posters or risk election offense charges.

Brillantes said the poll body is determined to sanction erring candidates since they were practically given a free-for-all prior to the start of the campaign period.

“Remember when you just posted everywhere your propaganda materials even before the start of the campaign period since you are not prohibited? It is now our turn to be strict with regards to your campaigning,” he pointed out.

Under the Poll Automation Law, a person who files his Certificate of Candidacy shall only be considered a candidate at the start of the campaign period.

The 45-day campaign period for local candidates was supposed to start on March 29 but the Comelec barred all campaign activities on Good Friday, so the campaign period officially started last Saturday.

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