Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairperson Sixto Brillantes Jr. reminded President Benigno Aquino 3rd that nobody can be accused of early campaigning for the 2016 elections because no one has filed candidacies yet.
Brillantes on Friday said that “technically, under election [laws], nobody is campaigning because there are still no candidates yet.”
A number of politicians, however, have already indicated their intentions to run in 2016.
The President recently slammed some of these early birds for engaging in premature campaigning.
Instead of campaigning early, he said, these politicians should find time to help solve the problems in the country.
Brillantes noted that some candidates started campaigning for 2016 a few weeks after the 2013 elections.
According to Republic Act 9369, “any person who files his certificate of candidacy (COC) shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period” and that “unlawful acts applicable to a candidate shall be in effect only upon that start of the campaign period.”
Brillantes pointed out that bills filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago will help in at least minimizing premature campaigning.
But he said there is no prohibition that prevents aspiring candidates from making appearances at public events.
“There is prohibition. The Vice President is making the rounds, but it’s OK because technically he’s not campaigning,” Brillantes noted.
Vice President Jejomar Binay has acknowledged that he is running for President in 2016.
But Brillantes said revealing election plans early could have both advantages and disadvantages for the aspiring candidate.
“You become the early target of criticism,” he said.