The Commission on Elections has no jurisdiction over candidates until the local and national campaign periods start, Negros Occidental Provincial Elections Supervisor Ian Lee Ananoria said Monday, October 11.
“We only regulate (their activities) during the campaign period…prior to that its part of their Constitutional right to freedom of expression,” he said in a virtual press conference.
As of now, they are free to put up billboards, posters, streamers, advertisements, and conduct campaign activities without being subjected to Comelec rules, he said.
Their activities cannot be considered premature campaigning unless the law is amended, Ananoria said.
“As far as the Comelec is concerned they are not yet candidates, we call them aspirants. They are called candidates when the campaign period starts,” he added.
The campaign period for local government and congressional bets starts March 25 to May 7, and for national officials Feb 8 to May 7, he said.
Ananoria said candidates who are in jail and have not been convicted are free to run for public office.
Their being allowed out of detention will depend on the courts and the police, he said.
The COMELEC is currently registering voters until October 30.*