Not well-thought-out : Lacson, Sotto say Comelec should reconsider rules on campaigning

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte– Presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson and vice presidential bet Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should reconsider its resolution imposing restrictions on in-person campaigning as it is “impractical” and “not well-thought-out.”

“At least, i-reconsider nila ang kanilang pinalabas na resolution kasi nga ‘di lang kami, the other candidates local or national, pareho ng observation. Kapag ang isang regulasyon hindi implementable something is wrong,” Lacson told reporters in an ambush interview.

(At least, they should reconsider the resolution that they have released because it is not only us who observed this, but also the other candidates from the local and national level. We all have the same observations. If a regulation is not implementable, something is wrong.)

“I think Comelec should make some adjustments because there are some regulations na in-impose nila by way of their resolution, na hindi praktikal. Ang selfie mapipigilan mo ba in this age of cellphones? Selfie lahat ng tao e. So ano idi-disqualify nila lahat ng kandidato?” he asked.

(I think Comelec should make some adjustments because there are some regulations that they imposed by way of their resolution which are not practical. Can you prevent people from taking selfies in the age of cellphones? Most of the people are taking selfies. Are they going to disqualify all the candidates?)

Sotto, for his part, said the Comelec should address the public and not the candidates in a form of an appeal.

“Wala sa power ng Comelec na makialam sa health e. Wala naman sa power nila na magsabi na ganito dapat, bawal ang selfie. It’s part of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. So palagay ko pareho rin ‘yan ng ‘no vax, no ride’ e. Not a well thought out proposal,” the vice presidential hopeful said.

(It is not within the power of the Comelec to impose regulations on health. Imposing regulations on activities like taking selfies is not within their power. So I think it is like the “no vax, no ride” policy. This is not a well-thought-out proposal.)

Under Section 14 of Comelec Resolution 10372, the following activities are strictly prohibited during in-person campaigns in all Alert Level category:

handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm in any action that involves physical contact among the candidate, their companions, and the public; taking selfies, photographs, and other similar activities that require close proximity between the candidate and their companions, and the public; distribution of food and drink, and all other goods or items; entering any private dwelling during house-to-house campaigning, even with the express permission of the homeowner; and crowding, or allowing crowds that violate minimum public health standards (MPHS) around the candidate and his or her companions.

Vice presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said it is up to Comelec to reassess its guidelines on campaigning.

“We leave it up to them to reassess what is happening on the ground, reassess if the rules are realistic on the ground,” she said.

On their part, Duterte said they ensure that there is a person in charge to guarantee that minimum public health standards are observed.

“Kahit ako tumutulong na rin na mag-remind sa mga tao at iyong pulis at LGUs at public officials tumutulong na rin sila but minsan kasi ang mga tao sobrang, sa excitement nila, nakakalimutan talaga nila ang minimum public health standards,” she said.

In a press conference Thursday, Dra. Minguita Padilla, a senatorial candidate under the Lacson-Sotto tandem, said the rules imposed by the Comelec are worse than the guidelines released by the government’s inter-agency task force that handles the COVID-19 pandemic.

She urged the poll body to provide the basis of these in-person campaign restrictions.

The official campaign period for the national candidates in Eleksyon 2022 amid the COVID-19 pandemic started last February 8.–Anna Felicia Bajo/AOL, GMA News

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