Junk candidates campaigning this early

December 11, 2018

This early, tarpaulins bearing the faces, slogans and gimmicks of candidates for the 2019 elections have begun dotting major roads and thoroughfares although the elections are yet to be held in May next year.

Not to mention the TV ads and well, the distribution of what can well be classified as campaign paraphernalia in certain areas in the metro by some of those who have declared that they are seeking public office in the coming polls.

The irony of it is that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has announced having just finished screening all certificates of candidacy (CoCs) for the 2019 midterm elections.

Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said the  list of official candidates will be released on Saturday, December 15, after all  nuisance candidates have been weeded out.

Such candidates who did not pass the requirements set by the Comelec have five to 10 days after the release of the final list, to appeal. 

Under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, a candidate is considered a’ nuisance’ if he or she ‘has the intent to make mockery of the election process; he or she has no bona fide intention or good faith to run in the election; or if he or she has causes confusion to the voting public through the similarity of his or her name to other registered candidates,’ has no machinery or  capacity to run and fund a campaign or has no network of connections or supporters to sponsor his or her candidacy. Probably to spare the so-called ‘nuisance candidates’ from further embarrassment, the Comelec, still according to Jimenez, will no longer mention their names. It’s gonna be like this -- fhe final list will be released and if you, after having filed your CoC, do not find your name anywhere on that list, then that means that you are disqualified or have not been found fit to run.

Problem is, for sure, many that would be retained in that list as official candidates are actually the real ‘nuisance.’ The dictionary defines ‘nuisance’ as ‘an obnoxious or annoying person, thing, condition, practice, etc.’

Isn’t it truly annoying how some candidates openly violate the rules against premature campaigning by putting up their political posters and using the media this early on in the game? Some even in the guise of holiday greetings?

Bet your bottom dollar -- such posters will become even greater in number in the vicinity of Churches with the ‘Dawn Masses’ and the holidays just days away and with the Catholic faithful expected to flock to the Churches this season.

The official 45-day campaign period is yet to begin next year. For the senatorial race, it begins February 12 and for the local candidates, the campaign will start on March 29.  However, our election laws are not airtight that they left a room for thick-faced politicians who have made skirting the laws their way of life.

Officially, right now, unscrupulous candidates with tarpaulins posted in various areas could not be held liable for early campaigning since the campaign period has not yet started. They could in fact use the words ‘vote for me’ and get away with it conveniently.

It is totally up to us, the voters, to examine these candidates’ behaviour and junk them this early too. Do we want public officials who make a mockery of our laws? If they can afford to skirt our election laws, what would stop them from doing worse things once they are in the so-called ‘seat of power?’

While our election laws do not provide any punishment for what is clearly a very, very early campaigning, it must be incumbent upon those running for public office to follow what is right and just for everyone. It’s called ‘delicadeza.’ Such a lonely word.

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Jokjok (from Michael Pacot of Montalban, Rizal) -- PEDRO: Pare, kakainggit si Pacquiao talagang sobrang sikat na siya ngayon ‘no?/JUAN: Bakit mo nasabi?/PEDRO: Eh bumili kasi ako ng bagong cellphone pagtingin ko me option na ‘send to MANY’/JUAN: Pare, ang bobo mo talaga ‘wag mo ikukuwento ’yan sa iba ha nakakahiya ka/PEDRO: Bakit naman?/JUAN: Eh matagal na ‘yang kinukuwento mo ngayon mo lang nalaman? Haayy…

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