MANILA — Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Dionardo Carlos said on December 6 the force will coordinate with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in removing campaign materials at the request of public officials or candidates.

 “If there is a go signal from the COMELEC and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), then we will assist in the removal of these materials,” Carlos said, assuring that the organization will be neutral in removing election-related materials.

“We just wanted to maintain our neutrality, so in every crucial action we must have the authority of the COMELEC.”  

“One thing is for sure, we won’t allow these campaign materials to be posted on police stations and offices. The PNP will immediately order the removal of such,” he added, noting COMELEC’s guidelines regarding the posting of campaign materials.

The announcement was made after Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto’s pronouncement on December 3, that all campaign materials posted on city-owned properties will be removed.

“I instructed our personnel through the City Admin to remove election-related materials posted in public propertyKahit tarp ko pa yan,” Sotto tweeted.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Sotto noted that the policy will cover all candidates including his local slate for the 2022 elections.

“‘Yung ibang supporters ng mga kandidato, kung saan-saan na nagpapaskil, mga public lamppost, buti sana kung sila may-ari… Eventually, sino ba maglilinis niyan? Kami din naman maglilinis,” he said.

“May nakita tayo na nakatali sa wire ng Meralco, baka maging fire hazard pa yan. That’swhy pinatatanggal pa namin,” he said.

“Kapag nasa public space ‘yan, puwede namin patanggalin yan,” he said.

The policy also coincided with a December 1 memorandum from the City Administrator’s Office that posting election-related materials on public property is “strictly prohibited, unless expressly allowed by the City Government in compliance with the 2017 Pasig Revised Revenue Code.”  

COMELEC guidelines only effective during campaign

In another report by GMA News, COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said in a radio interview its newly-approved guidelines for the conduct of in-person campaigns and rallies will be enforced in February 2022.

“Mukhang hindi naman (nasusunod). For one thing, hindi pa applicable ang guidelines namin. Kakagat pa lang ‘yan pagdating ng Pebrero. February 8 for national(candidates), March 25 for local candidates,” Jimenez said, noting that health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic are hardly being observed as candidates start going to the provinces.

“Pero sa nakikita natin ngayon, nilabas nga natin nang maaga para sana may guidelines ang mga kandidato pero wala, ‘di naman sinusunod, siksikan pa rin ang mga tao,” he added.

Jimenez has also expressed delight for the DILG’s call to observe health protocols during campaign rallies.

“Kaya natutuwa kami na nananawagan angDILG patungkol sa mga rally na ‘yan na maging maingat ang mga kandidato. Kami dinadagdag namin ang panawagn ng DILG dahil sa totoo lang, ‘yan ang authority sa ngayon,” he said.