2022 prexy bet spox denies supposed directive for supporters’ attire on elections day

March 17, 2022 - 4:03 PM
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A man wearing a face mask as protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) takes part in a simulation for the 2022 Philippine election, at a polling station in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 29, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Maie David)

Is there a rule prohibiting supporters from wearing clothing with campaign colors on elections day?

Some Filipinos raised concerns about this after some suggested that supporters of presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo should don pink shirts or outfits on May 9.

The suggestion was made in response to perceived potential voter fraud or manipulation of votes in the 2022 national elections. Part of the circulating directive reads:

“On Election Day, wear your pink outfit but no letters or logo (bawal daw). Why wear the color? This will give the watchers an idea of (the number) of votes. If there are lots of pink outfits and low count, then may daya sa counting. Let’s inform others.” 

(Screenshot by Interaksyon from Twitter)

Other supporters backed the idea while some discouraged wearing shirts with campaign colors for safety concerns.

“For me, the safest thing to do Kakampiks, wear our color after you have voted at the precincts. With the harassment they are doing now, it’s a possibility. Each single vote should not be wasted,” a Twitter user said, referring to voter fraud.

Another message was also allegedly disseminated on Facebook, which discouraged supporters from wearing pink-colored clothing. Pink is Robredo’s campaign color.

“Read below message from Leni’s legal team:” 

“To our dear co-Leni supporters, PLS. DO NOT WEAR PINK ON ELECTION DAY. This is a ploy of the biased Comelec to find justification to disqualify those who are wearing pink, kahit walang legal basis, just what they are doing now with our posters, murals, and other campaign materials. During the Cory-Marcos elections, those who were yellow were not allowed to enter the polling places. THE OFFICIAL RESULTS OF THE ELECTIONS WILL BE BASED ON THE BALLOTS, NOT ON THE ATTIRE THAT WE WILL BE wearing. Pls. pass this message to prevent the spread of the fake news encouraging Leni supporters to wear pink on Election Day.” 

A Twitter user tagged lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, for clarification.

“For the record: This did not come from the campaign legal team,” he responded.

“Wearing pink (or any color) to go vote is not prohibited, and while the possibility of harassment exists, should that prevent us from asserting our rights? To vote AND to wear the color we choose when we do so,” Gutierrez added.

The Fair Elections Act states that campaigning during the voting day is not allowed. This means that the following “politician partisan activities” are prohibited on May 9:

  • Forming organization or other groups of persons to solicit votes and/or undertake campaign for or against a candidate.
  • Creating social media platforms to conduct campaigns or related partisan political activity.
  • Holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other assemblies to solicit votes or campaign for or against a candidate.
  • Make speeches, announcements, commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate.
  • Publishing displaying or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate.
  • Directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges of support, for or against any candidate.

These campaign-related activities are also prohibited on the eve of the election day (May 8), on Maundy Thursday (April 24) and Good Friday (April 15).

The prohibition on wearing of campaign colors was not mentioned in the Fair Elections Act, but Filipinos cannot make use of other means to identify their vote, according to the Omnibus Election Code.

These include making copies of the content of their ballots, or posting selfies or pictures of the filled-out ballot.