Be wary of ‘epal’ candidates, election watchdog urges voters

MANILAWhile there is no law banning premature campaigning, an election watchdog urged voters to reject 'epal' candidates or those who are doing such practice for the May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls.

Candidates who campaign, before the start of the actual period, are unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of a loophole in the law, lawyer Rona Ann Caritos, executive director of Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) said in a statement Wednesday.

Caritos also reminded voters and candidates of the PHP5 campaign spending limit per registered voter.

She also appealed to those running in the village polls, who already started campaigning to stop what they are doing and set an example to young Filipinos who are also eyeing posts in the SK polls.

Lente appeals to the Barangay candidates, already engaged in premature campaigning, to stop doing so to act as good role models for the SK candidates, she said.

As for SK candidates who are also engaged in premature campaigning, the organization appeals to them to stop so that they would be not part of the vicious cycle of traditional politics in the country, Caritos added.

On Tuesday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said premature campaigning is not an election offense whether it is done in automated or manual polls.

The campaign period for the village and youth polls is set to start on May 4 and will run until May 12, two days before Election Day.

Source: Philippine News Agency