The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Wednesday that the “Run Sara Run” banners which urge Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run in the 2022 elections did not violate any election laws.
“Technically, there is no violation because in order for premature campaigning to be committed there should be an official candidate,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told ANC.
“And no official candidate exists right now. In fact, we are not even filing the certificate of candidacy yet. So, since there is no official candidate, there can be no crime or should we say offense of premature campaigning.”
Jimenez said the “Run Sara Run” banners were “a matter of free expression.”
“These people have the right to actually promote the candidacy of anyone that they want. They could put up a banner that says ‘Christian Run’ and it won’t make a difference because it’s a matter of free expression,” he said.
The “Run Sara Run” banners drew flak from netizens.
However, the Comelec official noted such activity disturbs the balance in the field.
“You are putting a premium on the ability to go out and campaign this early, which means you have a bigger war chest, which means you have more money, which means that ultimately candidates with more resources are in a better position to win the election,” he said.
Comelec: ‘Run Sara Run’ tarps do not violate election laws
“So, I think people should reject candidates who are campaigning this early or who are tolerating other people campaigning in their name even if they haven’t yet filed their certificate of candidacy.”
Section 13 of Republic Act 9369 states that an individual is only considered an official candidate at the start of the campaign period. “Any person who files his certificate of candidacy within this period shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period for which he filed his certificate of candidacy,” the law said.
“Inday Sara is not running. I have really, really put my foot down. Naaawa ako sa anak ko. Ang politiko dito, kababuyan,” he said in a briefing in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
(… I pity my daughter. The politics here is dirty.)