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To proceed with ‘Oplan Baklas’ in NegOr public places: Comelec

DUMAGUETE CITY β€” According to a major poll body official here, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Negros Oriental will continue with its “Oplan Baklas” operations, pulling down illegally mounted campaign materials in public locations.

The latest Supreme Court temporary restraining order (TRO) on “Oplan Baklas” affects only private properties, according to lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Comelec provincial election supervisor-designate of Negros Oriental, who told the Philippine News Agency that “we respect that ruling.”

“As an agency, the Comelec is bound by the Supreme Court’s verdict, and we always follow their lawful directions,” Castillano added.

On March 8, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against the Comelec pending the outcome of a petition filed by some quarters to have campaign materials posted in private areas removed.

“For the time being, we’ll have to wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling on that case, but our operations against illegal campaign materials in public areas will continue,” he said.

Campaign materials that do not adhere to the poll body’s measurements, as well as those placed in places not designated by the Comelec as a shared poster area, would be removed, he added.

Election officers in several towns and cities in Negros Oriental have already begun their Oplan Baklas activities, but Castillano stated that they will be fully operational by April after teachers have been trained on how to handle vote-counting equipment.

Candidates should “show respect” by not placing electoral propaganda materials on trees, power poles, and waiting sheds, among other places, according to the Comelec counsel.

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