COMELEC on Bongbong Marcos “emergency alert” during the COC filing.
COMELEC — The Commission on Elections spoke about Bongbong Marcos “emergency alert” during the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC).
It was last October 6 when some members of the media covering the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) at Sofitel’s Harbor Garden tent in Pasay City were confused after their smartphones rang with a “severe emergency alert”.
What they received on their smartphones was an advertisement about Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who at that moment was in the venue to file his certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 elections.
Usually, Filipinos received emergency alerts when there were natural calamities, such as earthquakes and typhoons, and so a distracting notification on an election-related matter was nothing short of unusual.
At the sidelines of the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) at Sofitel’s Harbor Garden tent, COMELEC Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said that using the emergency alert system for political propaganda was a “reprehensible tactic”.
“It is unreservedly wrong. Unfortunately, it is not a violation of any electoral law that I am aware of mainly because I don’t think the law ever anticipated that there would be an emergency alert system, second the law doesn’t really prohibit that sort of thing, again, in general terms that’s not covered by law. However, I am convinced that it is a violation of some law because it’s done in an emergency alert system,” Jimenez said.
An emergency alert system, according to Jimenez, operated under guidelines that prevented or prohibited its use for non-emergency situations and so he’s sure that this was “in violation of something”.
Jimenez added that using the emergency alert system for political propaganda was a “reprehensible tactic” and it shouldn’t be replicated by anyone.
“Whoever did this has to be held accountable,” Jimenez said.
In a series of tweets, Jimenez said that while there wasn’t a penalty – at least not under electoral laws – specifically for the use of an emergency alert system for campaigning, it’s “ill-advised” at best.
Jimenez also said that whether or not criminal liability will attach to those who were behind the said move will have to be determined by the appropriate agencies of government.