The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will continue to implement its “Oplan Baklas” operations and will take down campaign posters that are oversized or posted in restricted areas in public spaces even though the Supreme Court has already issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on it. 

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a radio interview that they will proceed to remove illegal campaign paraphernalia in areas within their power although they won’t be removing posters in private properties anymore. 

“Do’n sa mga areas na ine-enjoin, siyempre hindi tayo magtutuloy doon. Pero hindi naman in-enjoin lahat eh. So ‘yung pagbabaklas doon na malinaw na talagang pasok sa authority ng Comelec, ‘yung pagbabaklas sa mga public spaces, kailangan magtuloy ‘yan,” he said.

“Pero doon sa areas na in-enjoin, ‘yung pagbabaklas sa private spaces, ‘yun ang tigil muna,” he added.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a TRO against the Comelec’s “Oplan Balkas” following a petition filed by supporters of presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo. According to the petitioners, the Comelec’s removal of oversized campaign posters in private properties is a violation of the constitutional right to free expression, among others.

“The petitioners sought the issuance of a TRO, while the resolution of the petition is  pending, prohibiting the Respondents from implementing  Section 21 (o), Section 24, and Section 26 of the Comelec  Resolution No. 10730 with respect to the poll body’s order to  dismantle, remove, destroy, deface, and/or confiscate all  election materials that are privately owned and privately funded  solely by volunteers and private citizens and posted and/or  installed within their private properties,” the SC said in its resolution.

“Siyempre, gagalangin natin ‘yung TRO na ibinigay ng Korte Suprema pero haharapin din natin ‘yung reklamo laban sa Comelec,” Jimenez said. Ronald Espartinez