With the promulgation of Comelec Resolution Number 10730 on November 17, 2021, the new campaign rules already allow campaigning using the social media. Although most of the usual campaign methods, like putting up of posters and giving out pieces of paper announcing a candidate’s platform and qualifications remain the same, strict adherence to the IATF rules are already integrated in the conduct of campaign because of the current pandemic.
Said Comelec resolution allows the use of the internet to distribute campaign propaganda which includes text-only posts on social media, pictures, audio clips, and video clips. Under Letter c of Section 9 thereof, the use of internet, mobile platforms and social media for purposes of election propaganda shall be allowed but each registered political party/coalition and candidate must first register with the Election and Information Department (EID) of the Comelec, the website name and web address of all platform-verified official accounts, websites, blogs and/or social media pages. The rules further require that the information contained in the online campaign propaganda shall be truthful and not misleading. It must not tend to unjustifiably cast doubt on the integrity of the electoral process and all the electoral ads must show a disclosure that identifies who paid for the ad.
The same resolution in section 1 (7) and 14 (c) defines (a rally conducted for an online audience) and regulates E – Rallies where the EID shall provide a platform for free live-streaming of E-rallies of national candidates. E-Rally airtime will be given to the presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial candidates and to participating party list organizations. Presidential candidates and political parties will be given airtime of 10 minutes each, 3 slots/night, while senatorial candidates and party list organizations will be entitled to 3 minutes each, 5 slots/night. These live streaming of e-rallies will be conducted every night starting February 8, 2022 on the social media channels of the Comelec. Said slots shall be assigned at random after the raffling of slots which shall be televised.
During the campaign period, candidates, including local ones, may hold peaceful on line political meetings, rallies or similar activities. These are no longer covered by the limitations on broadcast advertising in section 9 of the resolution. Live streaming activities herein are considered a form of e-rally but all e-rallies must include a disclosure that identifies it as political meeting or rally, it must also comply with the minimum health protocols, providing for the date, time and location information. A live stream on the candidate’s social media platform shall be considered a political meeting or rally. The Comelec requires that recordings of e-rallies must be submitted to the EID within 72 hours from airing the same (Section 36, Comelec Resolution 10730).
The campaign periods shall be on February 8, 2022 to May 7, 2022, for national candidates. For local candidates, campaigning shall start on March 25, 2022 until May 7, 2022. It is prohibited to campaign on April 14, Maunday Thursday and April 15, 2022, Good Friday, as well as on May 8, 2022, the eve of election day. These are new rules for the new normal, let us learn more about them on Friday’s episode of Election Day, at 9:00 o’clock in the morning, on November 26, 2021 at Regional News Group Luzon’s Morning Balitaktakan Segment. See you there.
***Comments/opinions mentioned in this article are made by me in my personal capacity as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.