The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) will monitor campaign materials and social media sites during the campaign period based on new guidelines released by the poll body.
Under COMELEC Resolution No. 10488 dated January 30, 2019, the Commission will be regulating paid posts on social media that support a particular candidate.
Jomel Ordas, the provincial COMELEC spokesperson, said Thursday they will strictly monitor the use of social media for election campaigning.
Ordas said this will include the social media associates, paid influencers, supporters, and trolls promoting a candidate.
“Personal opinions, views and preferences for candidates contained in blogs, micro-blogs should not be considered as acts of election campaigning or partisan political activity unless expressed by government officials in the executive, legislative, judiciary, constitutional commissions and members of civil service,” Ordas pointed out.
However, he clarified that “the use of social media for campaigning is allowed but regulated.”
Every political party or candidate is required to register the website name and web address of their official blogs or social media page, he said.
Ordas said they will conduct monitoring, validation and verification purposes, political parties, candidates, social media associates, contractors, business firms, website owner or administrators, and internet service providers are required to submit reports with the Comelec in connection with the online political advertisements.
“Ang monitoring and regulation on the use of social media in campaigning ay pinalakas ng COMELEC sa pamamagitan ng new rules nito defined under COMELEC Resolution No. 10488. Kaya any endorsement, statement, declaration or information graphics appearing in any internet website, social network, blogging site and micro-blogging site to endorse a candidate’ is considered a political advertisement,” he said.
Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Act said pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written and printed materials should not exceed eight and one-half inches in width and 14 inches in length.
Posters such as cloth, paper, and cardboard, even if framed or posted should not exceed two feet by three feet, but, three feet by eight feet streamers should be allowed on the site of public meeting and rally provided that it may be displayed five days on the date of the meeting or rally and should be removed within 24 hours after.
The COMELEC resolution also said that any published or printed political matter should bear and be identified by the reasonably legible or audible words “political advertisement paid for,” followed by the true and correct name and address of the candidate or party for whose benefit the election propaganda was printed or aired.
All political advertisements should clearly indicate all necessary details including who paid for them, it added.
Website owners or administrators who posts unlawful election propaganda will be criminally liable with the candidate, Ordas said adding that any violation of the rules will be considered an election offense.