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D. Campaign

1. Premature campaigning

a. CONCEPTS

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. (Section 79[b], B.P. Blg. 881, Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines)

1) Excluded from coverage

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. (Paragraph 2, Section 79[b], Ibid.)

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. (Paragraph 3, Section 79[b], Ibid.)

b. ELECTION AND CAMPAIGN PERIODS

Unless otherwise fixed in special cases by the COMELEC, the election period shall commence ninety days (90) before the day of the election and shall end thirty (30) days thereafter. (Section 3, B.P. Blg. 881, Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines)

The period of campaign shall be as follows:

1) Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election – 90 days;

2) Election of Members of the Batasang Pambansa and Local Election – 45 days; and

3) Barangay Election – 15 days. (Paragraph 2, Section 3, Ibid.)

The campaign periods shall not include the day before and the day of the election. (Paragraph 3, Section 3, Ibid.)

However, in case of special elections under Article VIII, Section 5, Subsection (2) of the Constitution, the campaign period shall be forty-five (45) days. (Paragraph 4, Section 3, Ibid.)

c. 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. (Section 80, Ibid.)

2. Prohibited contributions

a. CONCEPT

No contribution for purposes of partisan political activity shall be made directly or indirectly by any of the following:

1) Public or private financial institutions: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall prevent the making of any loan to a candidate or political party by any such public or private financial institutions legally in the business of lending money, and that the loan is made in accordance with laws and regulations and in the ordinary course of business;

2) Natural and juridical persons operating a public utility or in possession of or exploiting any natural resources of the nation;

3) Natural and juridical persons who hold contracts or sub-contracts to supply the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities, with goods or services or to perform construction or other works;

4) Natural and juridical persons who have been granted franchises, incentives, exemptions, allocations or similar privileges or concessions by the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations;

5) Natural and juridical persons who, within one year prior to the date of the election, have been granted loans or other accommodations in excess of P100,000 by the government or any of its divisions, subdivisions or instrumentalities including government-owned or controlled corporations;

6) Educational institutions which have received grants of public funds amounting to no less than P100,000.00;

7) Officials or employees in the Civil Service, or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and

8) Foreigners and foreign corporations. (Section 95, Ibid.)

It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit or receive any contribution from any of the persons or entities enumerated herein. (Paragraph 2, Section 95, Ibid.)

1) Soliciting or receiving contributions from foreign sources.

It shall be unlawful for any person, including a political party or public or private entity to solicit or receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or contribution of whatever form or nature from any foreign national, government or entity for the purposes of influencing the results of the election. (Section 96, Ibid.)

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. (Section 81, Ibid.)

2) Prohibited raising of funds

It shall be unlawful for any person to hold dances, lotteries, cockfights, games, boxing bouts, bingo, beauty contests, entertainments, or cinematographic, theatrical or other performances for the purpose of raising funds for an election campaign or for the support of any candidate from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day; or for any person or organization, whether civic or religious, directly or indirectly, to solicit and/or accept from any candidate for public office, or from his campaign manager, agent or representative, or any person acting in their behalf, any gift, food, transportation, contribution or donation in cash or in kind from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day; Provided, That normal and customary religious stipends, tithes, or collections on Sundays and/or other designated collection days, are excluded from this prohibition. (Section 97, Ibid.)

3) Prohibited donations by candidates, treasurers of parties or their agents

No candidate, his or her spouse or any relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, or his campaign manager, agent or representative shall during the campaign period, on the day before and on the day of the election, directly or indirectly, make any donation, contribution or gift in cash or in kind, or undertake or contribute to the construction or repair of roads, bridges, school buses, puericulture centers, medical clinics and hospitals, churches or chapels cement pavements, or any structure for public use or for the use of any religious or civic organization: Provided, That normal and customary religious dues or contributions, such as religious stipends, tithes or collections on Sundays or other designated collection days, as well as periodic payments for legitimate scholarships established and school contributions habitually made before the prohibited period, are excluded from the prohibition. (Section 104, Ibid.)

The same prohibition applies to treasurers, agents or representatives of any political party. (Paragraph 2, Section 104, Ibid.)

3. Lawful and prohibited election propaganda

a. CONCEPT

Lawful election propaganda shall include:

1) 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;

2) Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular candidate;

3) 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

4) 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. (Section 82, Ibid.)

1) 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. (Section 84, Ibid.)

2) 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. (Section 83, Ibid.)

3) 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;

2) 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;

3) 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;

4) 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

5) 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. (Section 85, Ibid.)

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. (Paragraph 2, Section 85, Ibid.)

4. Limitations on expenses

a. CONCEPT

1) Limitations upon expenses of candidates

No candidate shall spend for his election campaign an aggregate amount exceeding one peso and fifty centavos for every voter currently registered in the constituency where he filed his candidacy: Provided, That the expenses herein referred to shall include those incurred or caused to be incurred by the candidate, whether in cash or in kind, including the use, rental or hire of land, water or aircraft, equipment, facilities, apparatus and paraphernalia used in the campaign: Provided, further, That where the land, water or aircraft, equipment, facilities, apparatus and paraphernalia used is owned by the candidate, his contributor or supporter, the Commission is hereby empowered to assess the amount commensurate with the expenses for the use thereof, based on the prevailing rates in the locality and shall be included in the total expenses incurred by the candidate. (Section 100, Ibid.)

2) Limitations upon expenses of political parties

A duly accredited political party may spend for the election of its candidates in the constituency or constituencies where it has official candidates an aggregate amount not exceeding the equivalent of one peso and fifty centavos for every voter currently registered therein. Expenses incurred by branches, chapters, or committees of such political party shall be included in the computation of the total expenditures of the political party. (Section 101, Ibid.)

Expenses incurred by other political parties shall be considered as expenses of their respective individual candidates and subject to limitation under Section 100 of this Code. (Paragraph 2, Section 101, Ibid.)

2) Persons authorized to incur election expenditures

No person, except the candidate, the treasurer of a political party or any person authorized by such candidate or treasurer, shall make any expenditure in support of or in opposition to any candidate or political party. Expenditures duly authorized by the candidate or the treasurer of the party shall be considered as expenditures of such candidate or political party. (Section 103, Ibid.)

The authority to incur expenditures shall be in writing, copy of which shall be furnished the Commission signed by the candidate or the treasurer of the party and showing the expenditures so authorized, and shall state the full name and exact address of the person so designated. (Paragraph 2, Section 103, Ibid.)

3) Lawful expenditures

To carry out the objectives of the preceding sections, no candidate or treasurer of a political party shall, directly or indirectly, make any expenditure except for the following purposes:

1) For travelling expenses of the candidates and campaign personnel in the course of the campaign and for personal expenses incident thereto;

2) For compensation of campaigners, clerks, stenographers, messengers, and other persons actually employed in the campaign;

3) For telegraph and telephone tolls, postage, freight and express delivery charges;

4) For stationery, printing and distribution of printed matters relative to candidacy;

5) For employment of watchers at the polls;

6) For rent, maintenance and furnishing of campaign headquarters, office or place of meetings;

7) For political meetings and rallies and the use of sound systems, lights and decorations during said meetings and rallies;

8) For newspaper, radio, television and other public advertisements;

9) For employment of counsel, the cost of which shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Section 100 and 101 hereof;

10) For copying and classifying list of voters, investigating and challenging the right to vote of persons registered in the lists the costs of which shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Sections 100 and 101 hereof; or

11) For printing sample ballots in such color, size and maximum number as may be authorized by the Commission and the cost of such printing shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of expenses which a candidate or political party may have incurred under Sections 100 and 101 hereof. (Section 102, Ibid.)

5. Statement of contributions and expenses

a. CONCEPT

Every candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, not later than seven (7) days, or earlier than ten (10) days before the day of the election, file in duplicate with the office indicated in the following section, full, true and itemized, statement of all contributions and expenditures in connection with the election.

Within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, said candidate and treasurer shall also file in duplicate a supplemental statement of all contribution and expenditures not included in the statement filed prior to the day of the election. (Paragraph 2, Section 106, Ibid.)

The term “contribution” – includes a gift, donation, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value, or a contract, promise or agreement to contribute, whether or not legally enforceable, made for the purpose of influencing the results of the elections but shall not include services rendered without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time in behalf of a candidate or political party. It shall also include the use of facilities voluntarily donated by other persons, the money value of which can be assessed based on the rates prevailing in the area. (Section 94[a], Ibid.)

The term “expenditure” – includes the payment or delivery of money of anything of value, or a contract, promise or agreement to make an expenditure, for the purpose of influencing the results of the election. It shall also include the use of facilities personally owned by the candidate, the money value of the use of which can be assessed based on the rates prevailing in the area. (Section 94[b], Ibid.)

The term “person” – includes an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation, and any other organization or group of persons. (Section 94[c], Ibid.)

1) True name of contributor required

No person shall make any contribution in any name except his own nor shall any candidate or treasurer of a political party receive a contribution or enter or record the same in any name other than that of the person by whom it was actually made. (Section 98, Ibid.)

2) Report of contributions

Every person giving contributions to any candidate, treasurer of the party, or authorized representative of such candidate or treasurer shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election, file with the Commission a report under oath stating the amount of each contribution, the name of the candidate, agent of the candidate or political party receiving the contribution, and the date of the contribution. (Section 99, Ibid.)

3) Accounting by agents of candidate or treasurer

Every person receiving contributions or incurring expenditures by authority of the candidate or treasurer of the party shall, on demand by the candidate or treasurer of the party and in any event within five days after receiving such contribution or incurring such expenditure, render to the candidate or the treasurer of the party concerned, a detailed account thereof with proper vouchers or official receipts. (Section 105, Ibid.)

4) Records of contributions and expenditures

1) It shall be the duty of every candidate, treasurer of the political party and person acting under the authority of such candidate or treasurer to issue a receipt for every contribution received and to obtain and keep a receipt stating the particulars of every expenditure made. (Section 106[a], Ibid.)

2) Every candidate and treasurer of the party shall keep detailed, full, and accurate records of all contributions received and expenditures incurred by him and by those acting under his authority, setting forth therein all information required to be reported. (Section 106[b], Ibid.)

3) Every candidate and treasurer of the party shall be responsible for the preservation of the records of contributions and expenditures, together with all pertinent documents, for at least three years after the holding of the election to which they pertain and for their production for inspection by the Commission or its duly authorized representative, or upon presentation of a subpoena duces tecum duly issued by the Commission. Failure of the candidate or treasurer to preserve such records or documents shall be deemed prima facie evidence of violation of the provisions of this Article. (Section 106[c], Ibid.)

5) Effect of failure to file statement

In addition to other sanctions provided in this Code, no person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required. (Section 111, Ibid.)

The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which nominated the winning candidate fails to file the statements required herein within the period prescribed by this Code. (Paragraph 2, Section 111, Ibid.)

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