‘Bato’ movie violates election rules if shown during campaign period

January 7, 2019 - 4:42 PM
Bato dela rosa Interaksyon
In this file photo, former PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa files his certificate of candidacy for senator in October 2018. (Philstar/Kat Leandicho)

The Commission on Elections warned that releasing a movie about senatorial candidate Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa during the campaign period could be an election offense.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez explained during ANC’s “Headstart” that a movie of a political candidate during the campaign period will be unfair to the person with the resources over others.

“When you talk about the exhibition of a movie, it has a life of its own. That would be impossible to bill, especially if you’re having several showings a day or multiple outlets throughout the country,” he said.

Producing a movie on Dela Rosa is not illegal, Jimenez clarified, but it should not be aired during the campaign period.

Actor Robin Padilla recently shared on Instagram that he will play the former police chief in the film.

“There can be a movie. In fact, he would not be the first to do that. The problem is the exhibition of the movie after the start of the campaign period,” he said.

Jimenez also said that this rule applies to any political candidate, whether a public figure or not. Doing so will “likely” be counted as an election offense and then possibly have them disqualified.

“If there’s a movie or a television show that deals with the life of a candidate or the personality of the candidate, or featuring the candidate as an actor portraying someone else, that cannot be shown during the campaign period,” he said.

The campaign period starts on February 12 for national posts, while those seeking local seats on March 29.

The title of the documentary film is “Bato: The Gen. Ronald dela Rosa Story.” It will be directed by award-winning director Adolfo Alix, Jr.

No other details have been released.

Dela Rosa will be running under the administration slate PDP-Laban. If he wins, the former Bureau of Corrections head previously said he will push for the reinstatement of death penalty for crimes of rape, drug trafficking and murder.

Election rules

Republic Act No. 9006 or the “Fair Election Act” mandates the forms of lawful election propaganda or campaign materials that political aspirants can use.

These include any printed materials, paid advertisements and election surveys provided they conform to the conditions or requirements of the law.

Movies or documentaries of a campaigner, however, are strictly prohibited as written in section 6.7.

“No movie, cinematograph or documentary portrayed by an actor or media personality who is himself a candidate shall likewise be publicly exhibited in a theater, television station or any public forum during the campaign period.”

Similarly, a celebrity running for public office should not show his or her movie or TV series in a theater or any public forum during this time.

Non-compliance with these provisions can be counted as an election offense that is punishable according to section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Aside from imprisonment and a fine, the guilty party will “suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.”