THE UST CENTRAL Commission on Elections (Comelec) has barred the Lakas Tomasino Coalition (LTC) from online campaigning for the remainder of the campaign, after a case of premature campaigning was filed by rival party Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino (Lakasdiwa).
Lakasdiwa filed a complaint against LTC last March 22, accusing the latter of premature campaigning after the party and its members posted simultaneously on Twitter the words “TIGERS READY #TheBigSwitch” on March 20, a day before the filing of certificates of candidacy for the student council polls.
Lakasdiwa contested that “TIGERS READY” is a tagline clearly attributable to LTC, as the latter used it last academic year as one of its campaign taglines.
The official campaign period was scheduled from March 27 to April 8.
Section 8 of Comelec Executive Order No. 4 defines premature campaigning as “any material drawn or printed containing the name of a candidate or a political party,” and shall be “deemed a campaign material and should not be used or distributed before the campaign period.”
LTC, for its part, said the tweets were posted “in support of the Thomasian community as a whole, specifically in relation to the UAAP, considering that there was an upcoming softball game the following day.”
“While the presumptions created by the above quoted provisions are very much rebuttable, the respondent failed to predent a meritorious defense, backed up by a sufficient evidence, to counter the same,” the Comelec resolution released last April 3 read.
Comelec added that it tried to contact LTC members who posted the tweets, but the members failed to appear in the hearing.
On Sept. 23 last year, LTC was also sanctioned by Comelec after it violated the UST Students’ Election Code of 2011 for prematurely announcing the names of the newly-elected Faculty of Pharmacy Student Council president and vice president.