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No such thing as premature campaigning: Comelec exec

There is no such thing as “premature campaigning”, an official of the Commission on Elections said yesterday.

Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. said politicians who appear on television, among others, cannot be considered as doing a political campaign.

“It’s like this, there is no such thing as premature campaigning, legally speaking. The Supreme Court has ruled on that, premature campaign. Let us say, today, we’ve seen a politician, local officials or national official on TV, etc., we cannot consider that to be a political campaign because he is not yet a candidate. So there is nothing wrong with that,” he added.

This as some incumbent government officials are already appearing on various infomercials on television less than a year before the May 9, 2022 elections.

Under the law, those who filed their Certificates of Candidacy will only become candidates at the start of the campaign period.

Based on the Calendar of Activities for the May 2022 National and Local Elections, earlier released by the Comelec, the filing of the COCs for national and local candidates will be from October 1 to 8.

National candidates or those running for presidential, vice presidential, senatorial and party-list seats, are required to file their respective COCs at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.

Candidates for the House of Representatives and regional, provincial, city and municipal officials should file their COCs at the local Comelec offices in the city or municipality they intend to run.

The campaign period for national positions will start on February 8 until May 7, or 90-days before the scheduled elections.

Local candidates are allowed to campaign 45 days before the polls, or starting March 25 to May 7, 2022.

60M REGISTERED VOTERS

Kho said he is expecting the number of registered voters to exceed 60 million at the end of the registration on September 30.

He said they are boosting their efforts to encourage the public to register and to make the process of registration easier for them.

“One of the things we do right now is to make it easier for our people to register. We have the I-rehistro, where the people can download their application and go to the Offices of Elections Officer. We also have satellite registration, where our EOs will have to go to the ground to the communities to administer the registration,” Kho said in a Laging Handa presser.

He said that, with these measures in place, they would be able to increase the number of registrants for the May 2022 synchronized polls.

“Hopefully, with all these measures, we will increase our registration. As of now, based on the data that was given to me, out of the April Election Registration Board hearing, we are close to 60 million. There will be ERB hearings in July and October, so we expect to reach around 60 million-plus,” he said.

He said the country has over 61.8 million voters during the 2019 elections.

After the recent polls, they have deactivated around seven million voters due to several reasons, including failure to vote in two consecutive elections.

“From there, we conducted the continued registration. As of April, after the ERB hearing, we have around 59 million voters registered,” Kho said.

Applicants are instructed to file their application for registration before OEOs in the city/municipality where they intend to vote.

The local Comelec offices are open Mondays to Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.*PNA

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