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Comelec: Junk candidates campaigning early

James Jimenez comelec

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez. INQUIRER file photo

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) told voters already fed up by the incessant self-promotion of politicians over the last few months that they ultimately have the power to end premature campaigning by not voting into office candidates who engage in such a practice.

Since the Comelec cannot penalize candidates who engage in premature campaigns, the poll body’s spokesperson, James Jimenez, said that the “real nonlegislative solution” to this election problem that had long plagued Philippine politics was for the public not to vote for erring candidates.

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“That is the choice every voter must make. The question is: Can it be done?” Jimenez said on his Twitter account.

While the official campaign period for next year’s midterm elections does not start until Feb. 12 for national posts, a number of candidates have already placed television ads or set up billboards with their faces.

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The Comelec, however, cannot do anything about this since the Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that premature campaigning was not an election offense.

The high court said that this was because one could only be considered a candidate once the campaign period had started.

Jimenez noted that he also did not see the need for an erring candidate to be charged just to serve as an example for the others.

Click here for more elections stories.

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