An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) knocked on the conscience of prospective candidates in the 2016 polls urging them to go slow on their televised campaigning masked as infomercials.

According to James Jimenez, Comelec director for education and information division, infomercials are getting brazen and longer, pretending to merely introduce prospective bets.

“This is my personal opinion but they are short of saying that ‘I am running for this position and vote for me.’ It’s no longer subtle, no pretense that they are just introducing themselves,” he said.

Jimenez noted that while such infomercials are not unlawful since there is no premature campaigning, “these people know that that these activities will not reflect on their election expenses and therefore, they will not report them to Comelec.”

He was referring to the statement of contributions and expenditures which must be filed by all candidates after the elections. The document contains campaign-related expenses.

Premature campaigning has been removed from the stature books because of the Supreme Court ruling on the Comelec vs Penera case in November 2009 which states that a candidate is liable for an election offense if the acts are done during the campaign period and after he has filed his certificate of candidacy.

The ruling superseded election policies, including the Omnibus Election Code, which prohibits a candidate from engaging in election campaign or partisan political activity outside the campaign period.

Jimenez said many candidates have been “circumventing” the law to promote themselves.

He urged them to “show a little more respect to the spirit of the law.” PHILSTAR


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