Thursday, September 10, 2009

Omnibus Election Code - Article X


OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE
Article X

CAMPAIGN AND ELECTION PROPAGANDA

Sec. 79. Definitions. - As used in this Code:

a.   The term "candidate" refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office, who has filed a certificate of candidacy by himself or through an accredited political party, aggroupment, or coalition of parties;

b.   The term "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" refers to an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to a public office which shall include:

1.   Forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign for or against a candidate;
2.   Holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate;
3.   Making speeches, announcements or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate for public office;
4.   Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate; or
5.   Directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges or support for or against a candidate.

      The foregoing enumerated acts if performed for the purpose of enhancing the chances of aspirants for nomination for candidacy to a public office by a political party, aggroupment, or coalition of parties shall not be considered as election campaign or partisan election activity.

      Public expressions or opinions or discussions of probable issues in a forthcoming election or on attributes of or criticisms against probable candidates proposed to be nominated in a forthcoming political party convention shall not be construed as part of any election campaign or partisan political activity contemplated under this Article.

Sec. 80. Election campaign or partisan political activity outside campaign period. - It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any party, or association of persons, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the campaign period: Provided, That political parties may hold political conventions or meetings to nominate their official candidates within thirty days before the commencement of the campaign period and forty-five days for Presidential and Vice-Presidential election.

Sec. 81.  Intervention of foreigners. - It shall be unlawful for any foreigner, whether judicial or natural person, to aid any candidate or political party, directly or indirectly, or take part in or influence in any manner any election, or to contribute or make any expenditure in connection with any election campaign or partisan political activity.

Sec. 82.  Lawful election propaganda. - Lawful election propaganda shall include:

a.     Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written or printed materials of a size not more than eight and one-half inches in width and fourteen inches in length;

b.     Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular candidate;

c.     Cloth, paper or cardboard posters, whether framed or posted, with an area exceeding two feet by three feet, except that, at the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally, or in announcing the holding of said meeting or rally, streamers not exceeding three feet by eight feet in size, shall be allowed: Provided, That said streamers may not be displayed except one week before the date of the meeting or rally and that it shall be removed within seventy-two hours after said meeting or rally; or

d.     All other forms of election propaganda not prohibited by this Code as the Commission may authorize after due notice to all interested parties and hearing where all the interested parties were given an equal opportunity to be heard: Provided, That the Commission's authorization shall be published in two newspapers of general circulation throughout the nation for at least twice within one week after the authorization has been granted.

Sec. 83. Removal, destruction or defacement of lawful election propaganda prohibited. - It shall be unlawful for any person during the campaign period to remove, destroy, obliterate, or in any manner deface or tamper with, or prevent the distribution of lawful election propaganda.

Sec. 84. Requirements for published or printed election propaganda. - Any newspaper, newsletter, newsweekly, gazette or magazine advertising, posters, pamphlets, circulars, handbills, bumper stickers, streamers, simple list of candidates or any published or printed political matter for or against a candidate or group of candidates to any public office shall bear and be identified by the words "paid for by" followed by the true and correct name and address of the payor and by the words "printed by" followed by the true and correct name and address of the printer.

Sec. 85. Prohibited forms of election propaganda. - It shall be unlawful:

  1. To print, publish, post or distribute any poster, pamphlet, circular, handbill, or printed matter urging voters to vote for or against any candidate unless they bear the names and addresses of the printer and payor as required in Section 84 hereof;

  1. To erect, put up, make use of, attach, float or display any billboard, tinplate-poster, balloons and the like, of whatever size, shape, form or kind, advertising for or against any candidate or political party;

  1. To purchase, manufacture, request, distribute or accept electoral propaganda gadgets, such as pens, lighters, fans of whatever nature, flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets, shirts, hats, bandanas, matches, cigarettes and the like, except that campaign supporters accompanying a candidate shall be allowed to wear hats and/or shirts or T-shirts advertising a candidate;

  1. To show or display publicly any advertisement or propaganda for or against any candidate by means of cinematography, audio-visual units or other screen projections except telecasts which may be allowed as hereinafter provided; and

  1. For any radio broadcasting or television station to sell or give free of charge air time for campaign and other political purposes except as authorized in this Code under the rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission pursuant thereto.

f.    Any prohibited election propaganda gadget or advertisement shall be stopped, confiscated or torn down by the representative of the Commission upon specific authority of the Commission.

Sec. 86. Regulation of election propaganda through mass media. –

  1. The Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations regarding the sale of air time for partisan political purposes during the campaign period to insure the equal time as to duration and quality in available to all candidates for the same office or political parties at the same rates or given free of charge; that such rates are reasonable and not higher than those charged other buyers or users of air time for non-political purposes; that the provisions of this Code regarding the limitation of expenditures by candidates and political parties and contributions by private persons, entities and institutions are effectively enforced; and to ensure that said radio broadcasting and television stations shall not unduly allow the scheduling of any program or permit any sponsor to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or political party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or including said candidate and/or political party in such program respecting, however, in all instances the right of said stations to broadcast accounts of significant or newsworthy events and views on matters of public interest.

  1. All contracts for advertising in any newspaper, magazine, periodical or any form of publication promoting or opposing the candidacy of any person for public office shall, before its implementation, be registered by said newspaper, magazine, periodical or publication with the Commission. In every case, it shall be signed by the candidate concerned or by the duly authorized representative of the political party.

  1. No franchise or permit to operate a radio or television station shall be granted or issued, suspended or cancelled during the election period.

d.   Any radio or television stations, including that owned or controlled by the Government, shall give free of charge equal time and prominence to an accredited political party or its candidates if it gives free of charge air time to an accredited political party or its candidates for political purposes.

      In all instances, the Commission shall supervise the use and employment of press, radio and television facilities so as to give candidates equal opportunities under equal circumstances to make known their qualifications and their stand on public issues within the limits set forth in this Code on election spending.

      Rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission under and by authority of this section shall take effect on the seventh day after their publication in at least two daily newspapers of general circulation. Prior to the effectivity of said rules and regulations, no political advertisement or propaganda for or against any candidate or political party shall be published or broadcast through the mass media.

      Violation of the rules and regulations of the Commission issued to implement this section shall be an election offense punishable under Section 264 hereof.

Sec. 87. Rallies, meetings and other political activities. - Subject to the requirements of local ordinances on the issuance of permits, any political party supporting official candidates or any candidate individually or jointly with other aspirants may hold peaceful political rallies, meetings, and other similar activities during the campaign period: Provided, That all applications for permits to hold meetings, rallies and other similar political activities, receipt of which must be acknowledged in writing and which application shall be immediately posted in a conspicuous place in the city or municipal building, shall be acted upon in writing by local authorities concerned within three days after the filing thereof and any application not acted upon within said period shall be deemed approved: and Provided, further, That denial of any application for said permit shall be appealable to the provincial election supervisor or to the Commission whose decision shall be made within forty-eight hours and which shall be final and executory: Provided, finally, That one only justifiable ground for denial is a prior written application by any candidate or political party for the same purpose has been approved.

Sec. 88. Public rally. - Any political party or candidate shall notify the election registrar concerned of any public rally said political party or candidate intends to organize and hold in the city or municipality, and within seven working days thereafter submit to the election registrar a statement of expenses incurred in connection therewith.

Sec. 89. Transportation, food and drinks. - It shall be unlawful for any candidate, political party, organization, or any person to give or accept, free of charge, directly or indirectly, transportation, food or drinks or things of value during the five hours before and after a public meeting, on the day preceding the election, and on the day of the election; or to give or contribute, directly or indirectly, money or things of value for such purpose.

Sec. 90. Comelec space. - The Commission shall procure space in at least one newspaper of general circulation in every province or city: Provided, however, That in the absence of said newspaper, publication shall be done in any other magazine or periodical in said province or city, which shall be known as "Comelec Space" wherein candidates can announce their candidacy. Said space shall be allocated, free of charge, equally and impartially by the Commission among all candidates within the area in which the newspaper is circulated.

Sec. 91. Comelec poster area. - Whenever practicable, the Commission shall also designate and provide for a common poster are in strategic places in each town wherein candidates can announce and further their candidacy through posters, said space to be likewise allocated free of charge, equally and impartially by the Commission among all the candidates concerned.

Sec. 92. Comelec time. - The Commission shall procure radio and television time to be known as "Comelec Time" which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the candidates within the area of coverage of all radio and television stations. For this purpose, the franchise of all radio broadcasting and television station are hereby amended so as to provide radio television time, free of charge, during the period of the campaign.

Sec. 93. Comelec information bulletin. - The Commission shall cause the printing, and supervise the dissemination of bulletins to be known as "Comelec Bulletin" which shall be of such size as to adequately contain the picture, bio-data and program of government of every candidate. Said bulletin shall be disseminated to the voters or displayed in such places as to give due prominence thereto. Any candidate may reprint at his expense, any "Comelec Bulletin" upon prior authority of the Commission: Provided, That the printing of the names of the different candidates with their bio-data must be in alphabetical order irrespective of party affiliation.

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