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Comelec warns of violations of election rules

The Commission on Elections on Monday called on the public to notify authorities about candidates violating campaign rules as the 90-day campaign period for senatorial candidates and party list groups officially starts today. “The start of the campaign period also marks the start of the regulation of campaign propaganda and the counting of campaign expenditure. Tulungan niyo po kaming magbantay,” (Help us to be on guard against violators),” said Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. Brillantes said violation of Comelec rules, particularly on the size and location of campaign propaganda materials, automatically attaches criminal liability to the candidates. “Thus, I urge candidates to read and study all pertinent rules and regulation regarding campaign and expense monitoring to avoid surprises,” he said. The Comelec listed 33 candidates for senators while 123 in the party list organizations which had qualified to join the May 13 midterm polls. Brillantes said a campaign finance unit was formed to monitor campaign contributions and expenses of candidates. He added the new implementing rules sharpened the teeth of their existing campaign finance laws and “secure that everything is counted to the last cent.” Candidates are required to file their statement of contributions and expenses within 30 days after the elections, whether they win or lose. Resolution 9476, Brillantes said, is aimed at regulating campaign spending and disclosure. It also created the commission’s Campaign Finance Unit (CFU) tasked to monitor, compile and analyze expenditures of candidates. Failure to file statement of expenditures and contributions will prevent a person from assuming office, if he is elected. It added that failure to submit the document is an administrative offense which is punishable by a fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 at the discretion of the Comelec. Senatorial, congressional and other local candidates registered under a political party are only authorized to spend P3 for every voter. Independent candidates without any support from any political party are only authorized to spend P5 for every registered voter.
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