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In Manila, campaign materials are everywhere except common poster areas

On the second day of the campaign period for national candidates, propaganda materials were everywhere in Manila except in common poster areas. This was what the Commission on Elections (Comelec) saw when it conducted a “documentation tour” to check on the candidates’ compliance with campaign rules. The documentation team, led by Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, noticed several violations mostly by party-list groups such as Kabataan, Buhay, LPGMA, AkapBata, and senatorial candidates Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara and former Senator Ernesto Maceda. The illegal campaign materials were posted on the center islands along Taft Avenue and Quirino Avenue, and on LRT posts, delivery vans, electric posts and even inside Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila. On the other hand, not one campaign material was seen in the common poster area in Plaza Dilao and a vacant lot along Old Sta. Mesa. “Tumakbo tayo ng Taft Avenue at nakakita rin tayo mga posters [na] nakakabit sa mga poste. Andito tayo ngayon sa Plaza Dilao, ang tinakdang common poster area, pero kung makikita natin, walang posters dito,” said Jimenez. “Maaring nagsisimula pa lang kasi ang campaign period at 'di pa sila nakakahanda ng mga campaign materials nila. But ang concern natin dito ay kung saan bawal na alam naman nila na matagal na [naroon ang mga campaign materials],” he added. The Comelec’s route was based on the reports on violations and complaints it received from the public. Jimenez said the list of common posters area could be secured from the election officers of each city or municipality. Jimenez also said the candidates cannot say that posters containing their name but without the phrase “vote for me” are not campaign materials. “At the start of campaign period, everything is related to the elections. Anything you put out there with your name or your image or your style mako-construe 'yun as campaign material,” he said. On the campaign materials inside the PUP—or any other school—Jimenez clarified that the school administration cannot be held liable. “At this point, 'di natin sinasabi na may responsibilidad ang school pero definitely, kahit ano pa mangyari alam natin na may responsibilidad 'yung mga political parties, candidates, party-list organizations, may responsibilidad na tumugon doon sa panawagan ng batas na 'wag maglagay naman sa ganitong lugar,” he said.  He believed the compliance with election rules will be better as the campaign period progresses. — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News