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Donors of political ads must be made public

MANILA, Philippines - Donors of print and broadcast campaign materials must make themselves known to the public, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

In Resolution 8758, the Comelec has banned campaign posters and advertisements that do not display the correct name and address of the payor.

It is unlawful to print, publish, broadcast or exhibit campaign materials donated to a candidate, political party or party-list group without their written acceptance.

The restriction aims to monitor the spending of each candidate.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez urged candidates to observe campaign rules as the campaign period for national office starts today.

“The Comelec is bent on ensuring a level playing field for candidates this campaign period,” he said.

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“This is why we will be strict in enforcing campaign rules, especially rules on the posting of campaign materials.”

On the other hand, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal has discouraged the public from taking down or defacing campaign posters displayed in public places to avoid tension.

Concerned individuals must report this to the Comelec for appropriate action, he added.

The agency can be contacted through hotlines 529-9302, 525-9797, 525-9296, 525-9335, 525-9294, 527-5575 and 527-0821.

If the posters are not taken down although notice has already been sent to them (concerned candidates), the Comelec can take these down at the expense of the candidates or political parties, Larrazabal said.

The Comelec has directed election officers in cities and municipalities to create a task force that will take down posters and streamers displayed outside the common poster areas.

Based on the Comelec resolution, campaign pamphlets, leaflets, cards, stickers and other printed materials must be 8 by 14 inches in size.

Posters must not exceed two by three feet.

Streamers must be three by eight feet in size and can only be placed five days before the date of a public meeting or rally and must be taken down 24 hours after the event.

Violation constitutes an election offense punishable with up to six years imprisonment. 

Ballot printing delayed by a day

The printing of ballots was again delayed by one day due to the longer type of ballots needed in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Comelec said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters, Commissioner Larrazabal said the printing of ballots did not push through last Sunday because the printing machines had to be re-calibrated for the ARMM.

“The ballots in ARMM are 27 inches long because of the Arabic translation,” he said.

“There were some adjustments that had to be made, some calibration (had to be done).”

The ballots for the other parts of the country measure 8 1/2 inches in width and 25 inches in height.

The Comelec had decided to print the ARMM ballots first because of proposals to hold early voting in the region.

Some 50.7 million ballots will be printed for the May 10 elections. 

Comelec plans to monitor jammers

The Comelec plans to lease jammer-monitoring devices as part of contingency measures for the May 10 elections.

However, Renato Garcia, Comelec consultant for information technology, said they are confident the number of jamming devices is not enough to block the transmission of election results from polling precincts to canvassing centers.

“It cannot do anything but just delay,” he said.

Garcia said the Comelec is studying all possible ways to acquire devices that could track down jamming devices.

“We are looking at different options available because these (devices) are already in the country,” he said.

“It’s nothing new. The telcos (telecommunication companies) are doing this. The military has this for purposes of maintaining the frequencies that they use. 

“We may sit down with them and try to see what partnership we can arrange to help address this issue... at no cost to Comelec.”

Yesterday, representatives of German-based Rohde-Schwarz firm demonstrated to Comelec officials the PR100 portable direction finder for jamming devices.

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