TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) – The Commission on Elections has reminded government officials and candidates to strictly observe prohibited acts in connection with the 2016 elections that will take effect on Jan. 10.
Comelec Eastern Visayas Regional Director Jose Nick Mendros said the prohibitions between Jan. 10 until June 8 will help ensure peaceful, orderly, and honest elections on May 9, 2016.
Prohibitions starting Jan. 10 are transfer or movement of officers and employees in the civil service; bearing, carrying or transporting firearms or other deadly weapons or commonly known as gun ban; use of security personnel or bodyguards by candidates; and organization or maintenance of reaction forces, strike forces or other similar forces; and suspension of elective local officials.
Suspension order by the Office of the Ombudsman for local elective officials is exempted as it applies the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
Candidates could be exempted to gun ban and use of security personnel if they have written authority from the poll body.
“Comelec checkpoints to be manned by the local police will be set up in every city and town to implement the gun ban and prevent election-related violence,” Mendros said.
Only a visual search of the vehicle is allowed at the checkpoints, according to Comelec.
“The search, which is normally permissible, is limited to visual search where the officer simply looks into the vehicle and flashes a flashlight therein without opening the car’s door,” the Comelec stated.
Starting Feb. 9, 2016, prohibited acts under the Omnibus Election Code are giving donations or gift in cash or in kind, etc.; and appointment or use of special policemen, confidential agents and the like.
Campaigning for candidates in the national position will start on the same day, but they are prohibited to woe voters on March 24 to 25 in observance of Holy Week. Local candidates are supposed to start their campaign on March 25, but Holy Week push the campaign period kick off to March 26.
All forms of campaigning will end on May 8, 2016 or on the eve of Election Day.
The prohibition on illegal release of prisoners will take effect on March 10, 2016 until the end of election period.
Starting March 25, the government is banned to appointment or hire new employees, create or fill up of new positions; promotion or giving of salary increases, remuneration or privilege.
Also prohibited starting that day until June 8 are construction of public works, delivery of materials for public works and issuance of treasury warrant or similar devises for a future undertaking chargeable against public funds.
Between May 8 to 9, any efforts to woe voters are unlawful. Among these are giving, accepting, free transportation, food or drinks or things of value.
“Soliciting votes or undertaking any propaganda for or against any candidate or any political party within the polling place or within 30 meters thereof” is also prohibited on Election Day.
Liqour ban will also strictly be observed between May 8 to 9.
Other prohibitions on Election Day are opening of booths or stalls for the sale, etc., of merchandise or refreshments within a radius of 30 meters from the polling place; holding of fairs, cockfights, boxing, horse races or any other similar sports.
Comelec records show that there are 3,436 candidates in Eastern Visayas for the 2016 elections vying for 1,454 seats.
Of the number, 28 candidates are contesting for seats in the House of Representative, 19 for governors, 12 for vice governors, 126 for provincial boards, 339 for city and town mayors, 318 for vice mayors, and 2,594 for city and town councils. (PNA)