Comelec to tighten rules on election 'color motifs'

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Just how far will the Commission on Elections go in a bid to tighten campaign finance rules?

Apparently as far as monitoring even the use of colors in campaigns.

Ever-ubiquitous "color motifs" of candidates or political parties will now be considered "political advertisement" and "election propaganda" under new Comelec rules.

"If identified with a candidate, [colors may be] used for partisan political politics. Colors mean a lot. They are symbols," Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento told reporters Wednesday.

"Kaya naisip ng commission na pati ang kulay dapat i-monitor namin (That's why we thought that we should monitor even colors)," he added.

The inclusion of color motifs as ads or propaganda are laid out in Comelec Resolution 9615, which also imposes stricter limits on election ads through broadcast and online media.

If ads and propaganda, including colors, that are linked to candidates or parties appear or are mentioned in print and broadcast, it will be "counted against the airtime limits allotted for the said candidates or parties..."

The cost of such also be charged against candidates or parties' expenditures, the resolution noted.

Officials admitted, however, that they are still threshing out operationalized rules for the monitoring of colors.

The rules, including those on color motifs, are "vague in new provisions but very clear on others," poll chief Sixto Brillantes told reporters Tuesday.

He added, however, that the poll body will have time to polish implementation during the campaign period which starts Feb. 12 for national candidates and local candidates on Mar. 29.

For his part, Sarmiento said Comelec officials will "meet and dialogue with political parties."

"Pag may kulay na pula eh di ganito yan. Pag kulay orange, kay ganito yan. Yung green alam din natin yan. (Red is for this party. Orange is for this candidate. We also know who uses green)," Sarmiento said.

"So surely, we will dialogue with candidates," he noted.

The poll body will also tap its citizens' arm, civil society groups and volunteers, among others, to help with the monitoring, Sarmiento said.

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