Be neutral in giving permits for campaign rallies, DILG to LGU execs

MANILA The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reminded officials of local government units to be fair in issuing permits for political rallies as the May 13 mid-term polls draw near.

Play a fair game. Let us not deprive voters (of) the chance to get to know their candidates to help them decide whom to vote for, Interior Secretary Eduardo M. AAo said in a statement.

The reminder came following President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks that some local officials refuse to grant their opponents permits for political rallies.

Kung gusto kayo ng tao, iboboto nila kayo ulit. (If the people want you to stay, they will vote for you again.) So let's not resort to shenanigans and just present your platform to the people and allow them to make intelligent choices, he added.

Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2019-61, AAo said Section 87 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 or the Omnibus Election Code states that any political party may hold peaceful political rallies, meetings, and other similar activities during the campaign period.

The same provision provides that application for permits must be acknowledged in writing, posted in conspicuous places in the city or municipal buildings, and acted upon in writing by the authorities concerned within three days after its filing. Any application not acted upon within the said period shall be deemed approved.

The right of candidates to hold political rallies was also reiterated in a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution, which provides that they should be given equal and fair opportunity as to date, time and place, to hold public political rallies, AAo said.

Comelec Resolution 10488, dated Jan. 30, 2019 also states that it is unlawful for any candidate, party, or any person to give or accept, free of charge, directly or indirectly, transportation, food and drinks, or anything of value during and within five hours before and after a public meeting or to give or contribute, directly or indirectly, money or things of value for such purpose.

Both the Omnibus Election Code and the Comelec resolution stress that the only justifiable ground to deny an application for permit is when a prior written application by another candidate or political party for the same purpose has been approved, AAo noted.

Such denial may still be appealed to the provincial election supervisor or the regional election supervisor, for cases in the National Capital Region, who shall decide on the matter within 48 hours and notify the concerned parties, he said.

All local officials are reminded that as public officers, it is our duty to uphold free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections. Hence, compliance with existing election laws shall take precedence over personal interests, the DILG chief said.

The campaign period is almost three months for senatorial candidates and party-list groups and more than one month for governors down to municipal councilors and district representatives. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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