By Gillian M. Cortez, February 11 2019; Business World

Image Credit to Philippine Star

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) has issued a reminder to candidates in the upcoming national and local elections that they can be penalized for prohibited campaign materials, even if these were supposedly put up by supporters without their knowledge.

Comelec, in a notice to candidates and party-list groups on Monday, said they must remove all prohibited forms of election propaganda at least 72 hours before the official campaign kick-off.

“Otherwise, said candidate or party shall be presumed to have committed the pertinent election offense during said campaign period for national candidates or for local candidates, as the case may be,” Comelec said.

The campaign period for national candidates will begin today, Feb. 12, while local candidates can start to officially campaign on March 29.

Prohibited political advertisements include materials not posted in designated common poster areas.

Materials posted in private properties without the consent of the property owner will also be considered an offense.

Based on Comelec rules, candidates under a political party can only spend P3.00 per voter while party-list groups and independent candidates can only spend P5.00.

Meanwhile, the Comelec has also completed the international source code review for the transmission systems that will be used for the midterm elections on May 13.

During a press briefing on Monday, Comelec Commissioner Marlon S. Casquejo said their target transmission of votes in this elections is going to be higher than the 97% rate during the 2016 polls.

“Gusto namin itaas (We want to make it higher), which was near to 97% (in 2016). As much as possible, kung kaya namin (if we can make it) 100% or baka (maybe) 99%. ‘Yun talaga target namin(That is our target) so there will be more preparations and trainings,” he said.

The poll body live-streamed the final step in the process of the trusted build for Automated Election System (AES) software program for the Transmission Gateway software.

The trusted build is a process where a third party entity audits and assembles the source code or the readable text of the AES.

The trusted build was reviewed and assembled by American election software company Pro V&V.

The same company handled the trusted build for the election management system, vote counting machine, and the consolidation and canvassing machine. — Gillian M. Cortez