Press Release
February 17, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1218:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's concern over COMELEC's overzealous Task Force Baklas


The COMELEC has no right to take down tarpaulins, posters or streamers set up by non-candidates on their own private property. This is the clear ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Diocese of Bacolod v. COMELEC (G.R. No. 205728; 21 Jan. 2015). These materials are not covered by Sec. 3.3 of the Fair Elections Act as implemented in Sec. 20 of COMELEC Res. No. 10730 on regulation size posters.

The right of citizens to express their electoral preferences through material posted, hung or otherwise set up on their own property and made visible publicly is protected speech. It cannot be subjected to COMELEC regulation legally without violating the constitutional proscription against prior restraint. The rule on poster sizes only applies to those posted by the candidates in common poster areas and private property with the consent of the owner. It does not apply to materials posted by non-candidates and ordinary voters themselves on their very own private properties such as residential houses or motor vehicles.

Sec. 20 of COMELEC Res. No. 10730 requiring campaign materials posted on private property to comply with the regulation size in accordance with the Fair Elections Act is therefore only applicable if it is the candidate who posted the same upon the owner's consent. It does not apply if the material is posted upon the volition and initiative of the private property owner himself, and without any participation from the candidate. This is the property owner's exercise of his free speech. Applying COMELEC Res. No. 10730 to the exercise of a citizen's free speech on his own private property is ultra vires, or outside the authority of the COMELEC, as it goes against the Constitution as already ruled by the Supreme Court in the case of the Diocese of Bacolod v. COMELEC.

Instead of being overly zealous in the regulation of election free speech, the COMELEC should instead revisit and review its regulations that have proven to be burdensome on candidates and the electorate as well.###

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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