Poll watchdog Kontra Daya today filed a letter complaint before the Commission on Elections, denouncing the use of “Daang Matuwid” as the nickname of Liberal Party standard bearers Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo.

The group has asked the Comelec to order the removal of all government billboards and other paraphernalia bearing “daang matuwid”, saying these are now illegal campaign materials.

“The COMELEC Legal Department and the En Banc committed grave abuse of discretion when it allowed “DaangMatuwid” to appear as the nicknames of the two candidates in the official ballots.  It is obvious that the names appearing in the official ballot pertaining to these candidates violate several election laws,” the group said in its letter.

Kontra Daya says the nickname violates  Rule II Sections 4, 5 and 7 of the Comelec Resolution No. 9984. “Daang Matuwid is not these candidates’ nicknames or the names they are generally or popularly known,” the group said.

Meanwhile, Vice-Presidential Candidate Robredo, xceeded the 30-character limitation, which includes spaces and “( )”, as specified by Section 7.

The poll watchdog assailed the Comelec “for failing corrected these misrepresentations and violations of the rules, as they are empowered to do so under the same Section 7”.

“It is of public knowledge that the present administration, headed by no less than the President of the Philippines, has been using the tagline “daang matuwid” or “tuwid na daan” everywhere, in every project announcement or advertisement,” Kontra Daya said.

“The Aquino administration has purposely allowed them to use the nickname to give Roxas and Robredo the added but unfair and illegal advantage of the use of public funds, and the national network of the Aquino administration, in their campaign. It is also an attempt to deliberately mislead and misinform the voters,” the group said.

Additionally, with Roxas and Robredo using the slogan “daang matuwid” as nickname, it has become clear, as of February 12, 2016, that ALL ISSUANCES OF THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION, from posters and billboards announcing government projectsto television advertisements to issued documents CONTAINING ”DAANG MATUWID”, paid for or otherwise produced using public funds and resources, have become “political advertisement or election propaganda,” according to the group.

“As a slogan, Daang Matuwid is an intrinsic part of “paraphernalia owned by the government” given its prominence in numerous billboards and posters promoting the Aquino administration’s projects and programs nationwide from 2010 to the present. That this slogan has been used as a nickname by the Liberal Party’s standard bearers politicizes what should otherwise be “neutral” government services. Kontra Daya denounces this opportunistic and sneaky manner of making a mockery of our election rules. The Liberal Party and its standard bearers should be held accountable.”

“Given that these advertisements/announcements/etc. are ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN MATERIALS, it is incumbent upon the Honorable Commission on Elections to order their removal pursuant to Section 25 of COMELEC Resolution No. 10049 dated February 1, 2016. And if those who put up said ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN MATERIALS refuse to bring the same down, the Honorable Commission is expected toPROSECUTE them and those who are benefitted by said ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN MATERIALS for violation of pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Election Code and other laws.”

“Allowing the inclusion in the ballot of “Daang Matuwid” as the candidates nickname, and the continuing use of the same slogan for government projects, is not just a violation of the law and basic tenets of fair election practices as enshrined in the Fair Election Act, but is also an endorsement of election fraud. It is an endorsement of the use of public funds for partisan political activity,” the group said. PR

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