By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila Bulletin
Those who filed their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) for the May 2022 polls were urged by an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not to engage in early campaigning.
“I would discourage that because that can be considered as premature campaigning,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a television interview.
“We all know that it is premature since the campaign period has not yet started,” he added.
The poll official, however, admitted that filers can start campaigning since there is no more legal prohibition against premature campaigning.
The Poll Automation Law states that “any person who files his certificate of candidacy shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period” and that “unlawful acts applicable to a candidate shall be in effect only upon that start of the campaign period.”
This was affirmed by the 2009 Supreme Court case of Penera vs. Comelec, which paved the way for the removal of premature campaigning as an election offense.
The Comelec has set the filing of COC for the May 2022 polls from Oct.1 to 8, 2021.
The campaign period, on the other hand, is from Feb. 8 to May 7, 2022.