Election liquor ban now up to five days
MANILA - Voting 4-1, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc lengthened the period of the election liquor ban to five days from two days.
Previously, the liquor ban covered only the election day itself and the day prior.
A minute resolution issued Wednesday adopted the recommendation of the law department to begin the liquor ban on the Thursday before the elections.
The Comelec's ruling came after Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino filed a request to expand the liquor ban to cover the whole election period. The period began January 12.
The poll body cited the law department's recommendation, which said that while the Omnibus Election Code prescribes a two-day liquor ban, nothing in the same law prevents covering a few more days.
Tolentino earlier cited the negative effects of alcohol on security, as compounded by the heated political environment.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the expansion of the liquor ban was fixed at a mere five days because these are the days when the political campaign will become more heated. He said the longer period will lessen tensions specifically on the Saturday before the elections.
He said it was Commissioner Christian Robert Lim who dissented, noting the poll body may not have the power to expand the ban's period.
Unless revoked, the five-day liquor ban shall also be carried over to the 2016 elections.
He said they ruled on this early so that questions may still be raised before the Supreme Court.
The exemption to the liquor ban - foreigners and tourist places like hotels that cater to foreigners - remains under the expanded liquor ban coverage.
Liquor ban violations are considered election offenses, which maybe meted some six years in jail.