Sunday, March 3, 2013

No time for Facebook, Comelec urges reporting of violations

Illegal campaign poster on the fence of Bulacan provincial capitol. It was later removed. 

MALOLOS CITY—While the Commission on Elections (Comelec) encouraged use of social media to address violations of election laws, the provincial elections supervisor here said they have no time for Facebook.

However, they encourage voters and community journalists to report violations through Radyo Bulacan, a local radio station based in this city.

Lawyer Elmo Duque, the provincial election supervisor of Bulacan said they can’t open a Facebook or Twitter account, two of the most popular social networking sites.

He said,” we no longer have time for Facebook” noting that they cannot also open a social networking account for their office where voters can report violations of election laws.

According to Duque, elections officers in the province are now busy preparing for massive voters education campaign.

He said it was meant to accomplish goals for credible, honest, accurate and meaningful elections.

Despite shutting doors on social networking sites, Duque encourages local voters to report election violations through Radyo Bulacan.

“We will respond to complaints reported through Radyo Bulacan accordingly,” he said but noted that complaints must be properly documented.

When asked on possible punishment for violators, Duque explained that it will be processed and heard by the Comelec Law department.

He said that complaints may not result to disqualification citing that it requires criminal charges and conviction.

“we are still on corrective mode, we will always call the attention of violators in case of complaints,” Duque said.

Last week, illegally placed campaign posters in Malolos City of Bro. Eddie Villanueva, a senatorial candidate of the Bangon Pilipinas Party were removed along with posters of Alay-Buhay Partylist in Hagonoy town.

This came after the Duque received complaints from local residents and ordered the removal of the said illegally placed campaign posters.

“I had a conference with the leading supporters of Bro. Eddie in Bulacan and told them about the complaint,” Duque said.

With regards to posters of Alay-Buhay party-list, he said that the election officer of Hagonoy town was tasked to order the removal of posters on tricycle terminals.
Earlier, local voters here started posting on photos of illegally placed campaign posters.

The photos were sent to Mabuhay, a local weekly newspaper which maintains a Facebook fan page, and were reposted later.

The posting was in response to encouragement of Commissioner Grace Padaca who visited the province last December.

In an interview, Padaca said that social networking sites can be used by voters to report election violations by posting photos and videos.  Dino Balabo