SC rules: Comelec cannot 'remove privately-owned materials on private property'
SC rules: Comelec cannot 'remove privately-owned materials on private property'
SC rules: Comelec cannot 'remove privately-owned materials on private property'
by Ellicia Del Mundo25 October 2023
Photo courtesy: RH Boy Gonzales

The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that the Commission on Election (Comelec) is not allowed to "remove or destroy privately-owned materials displayed on private property" and deemed this act "unconstitutional."

In a press release on Tuesday, Oct. 24, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the SC en banc granted St. Anthony College's petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus which questioned Comelec's authority to remove the campaign posters pursuant to the "Oplan Baklas" during the May 2022 National and Local Elections (NLE).

"The Court declared the COMELEC's confiscation and destruction of privately-owned campaign materials displayed on private property unconstitutional," it added.

The SC PIO stated that "while COMELEC, may validly implement "Oplan Baklas" against candidates and political parties, it cannot implement "Oplan Baklas" against private individuals expressing their political preferences or support for a candidate or political party."


In 2022, St. Anthony College and other private persons filed a petition after Comelec confiscated and destroyed their privately owned tarpaulins, posters, murals, and other materials which was displayed on their premises.

The said materials expressed support for former Vice President Leni Robredo, who was then a candidate for president.

According to SC PIO, the higher court ruled that the poll body "violated the property rights of St. Anthony College, as there was no legal basis for the Comelec's entry into their private property and removal and destruction of their privately-owned campaign materials."

It said that SC likewise ruled that Comelec's "implementation of "Oplan Baklas" against St. Anthony et. al, is unconstitutional as it exceeded the bounds of permissible regulation under RA [Republic Act No.] 9006 [or the Fair Election Act] and COMELEC Resolution No. 10730."


Photo courtesy: SC PIO

Interviewed during DZRH Dos Por Dos on Wednesday, Oct. 25, Comelec chairman George Garcia said that the poll body respects the rights of private property.

"'Di talaga natin ginagalaw ang mga nasa private property. Nirerespeto natin ang karapatan ng may-ari lalo't nagbigay ng consent," he said.

Garcia added that they only remove "oversized campaign materials" displayed in private property.


"So far, ako'y natutuwa kasi sa buong bansa, kasi sa buong bansa halos 2x3 pa rin ang size at walang lumaki yung size ng campaign material, talagang sumunod sila," he said.

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