MANILA The Church-based poll watchdog, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), has appealed to those who are looking to run in the forthcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to respect the observance of the Holy Week, by not taking advantage of the occasion to promote themselves.
Please, let us respect the occasion, said PPCRV Chairman Rene Sarmiento in an interview.
He is also hoping that the would-be candidates will not engage in any electioneering activities this week.
That is our appeal to all our candidates. Let us not make use of the Holy Week to advance our candidacies, Sarmiento said.
He also urged voters to guard against people who will take advantage of the occasion and try to persuade them.
The warning is there. Be very careful, our voters. Watch out for candidates giving all these water, etcetera, he said.
But Sarmiento noted that there is no law that can prevent such individuals from prematurely campaigning since they have yet to file their Certificates of Candidacy (COC) for the May 14 polls.
We cannot prevent them because of the PeAera vs. Comelec (Commission on Election) ruling that is still there. There is no more electioneering, he said.
Based on the Supreme Court ruling on the PeAera vs. Comelec, premature campaigning is no longer an election offense as Republic Act No. 9369, or the Election Automation Law, provides that a person, who files his or her COC, shall be considered a candidate only at the beginning of the campaign period.
Some candidates may use the occasion by coming out with public greetings bearing their faces and/or names in areas such as churches and chapels while some give people free food and drinks.
Based on the poll body's calendar of activities for the village and youth polls, the period for filing of COCs will be from April 14 to April 20, while the campaign period will start on May 4 until May 12.
Source: Philippine News Agency