The Commission on Elections said they cannot stop “aspiring candidates” from promoting themselves ahead of the May 2019 midterm polls as no law prohibits premature campaigning.
“The Comelec does not make the law, but we’ve been helping legislation get passed to address this,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
“The Comelec has never been silent about this loophole in the law, since at least 2013,” Jimenez added.
Netizens have questioned the poll body’s perceived lack of action against possible candidates in the forthcoming polls.
“We are actively supporting the bills that will help solve this problem,” Jimenez said.
Under Republic Act No. 9369, “any 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.”
It also states that “unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect only upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period.”
Pending bills filed by Senators Leila de Lima and Richard Gordon seek to prohibit any form of premature campaigning for any prospective candidate ahead of an electoral exercise.