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PIA Press Release
2010/02/17

Commentary: Candidates, please... obey poster-pasting rules

By Bong Pedalino

Tacloban City (17 February) -- The shallow excuse among supporters of political partes -- or perhaps among candidates themselves -- on why their own election campaign posters sprouted all over during the campaign season is that their opponents did the job to shame them.

Would you buy that? Such a reasoning is flimsy, hollow, bereft of logic, and best consigned to the world of make believe.

So, we wonder: if candidates, who are responsible to such illegal acts by extension, cannot even follow simple, easy to understand, and ordinary Comelec regulations, what about the complicated affairs of the State once they gain power?

*****

The rules on where to paste, hang, or stifle campaign materials is clear. This should be done at the designated common poster areas in the barangays, or in any other public, open parks so specified by the poll body.

The order of the day, therefore, to the candidates? coordinators, legmen, down to the ultimate "pandikit brigade" is to get in touch with barangay officials and the Comelec personnel to learn where their materials should be placed.

But what have we got? It is apparent there were no clear instructions for the "pandikit" guys; worse, they do it during the night -- along fences, electric posts, trees -- maybe to surprise the people the morning after, or to invite the Comelec to tear these illegally posted posters down.

*****

This common poster area law of the Comelec is just one of the many laws not observed during the campaign period ever since the elections following the first EDSA civilian uprising became a regular democratic exercise.

Why? The resigned conclusion is that so far no one -- not one candidate -- has been hailed to Court for such a violation.

Again, the twisted logic on why not a single candidate was put behind bars by taking for granted election laws is that there are not enough bars to imprison all the violators, for all have violated, if at all the law is implemented to the letter.

*****

Thus, we wonder, again, that if this law is un-implementable by the sheer volume of those who desecrate it, then might as well expunge this statute from the books.

In the first place, the spirit and intention of the law is to avoid turning the entire Philippines into an eyesore every after election, so abolishing it does not solve the problem on post-election dirty surrounding.

The trick is to let the law work in everybody?s favor. In our system where one needs a complainant to push a complaint, and move it, and nobody would complain since everybody was doing it, then somebody must somehow do it, if the Comelec cannot act unilaterally, on its own.

*****

And that somebody could be the non-partisan watchdogs, groups or organizations whose interests lie in a literally clean, environment-friendly elections.

This, of course, is like barking at the moon, with an expected landslide of complaints, if ever, against just about anyone who are candidates.

The short-cut way minus the legalities is to appeal to the candidates themselves, to prick their consciences, to touch their sense of patriotism: please do not just paste anywhere.

Most importantly, please spare the trees.

*****

LOCAL FRONT: The Comelec Officer of Maasin City, Lawrence Gelsano, said he had started removing the posters as soon as he saw them. And he intends to do it regularly with the help of the Police, the DILG, and civil society groups who are willing to join them in this thankless job. This is one way of showing that the Comelec means business, he said. His actions, indeed, needs everybody?s support to succeed. Any volunteers out there?

ODDLY YOURS: The Catholic Church, through Pope Gelasius I, retooled the Roman fertility festival Lupercalia into a Christian feast day about 496 AD, making February 14 every year Saint Valentine?s Day. But in the Church listing, there were three persons named Valentine and, curiously, all three were said to be martyred on February 14. Even the most plausible origin, a Priest named Valentine who courted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II in 270 AD, was obscured with the factual and the mythic, the source of the story itself a legend, or two legends. Legend number one: Claudius II disdained marriage, declaring that bachelors made better soldiers than married ones. In defiance, Rev. Fr. Valentine continued solemnizing marriage, was eventually caught, and put to death. Legend number two: Before his death sentence and while still in prison, Rev. Fr. Valentine allegedly fell in love with his jailer?s daughter. Prior to being executed, he sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine."

In 1969, or 1,473 years since Pope Gelasius I transformed a pagan tradition into a Christian observance, the Church revised its liturgical calendar, dropping feast days of saints whose historical beginnings were doubtful. St. Valentine was one of those crashed out, but the practice of observing Valentine?s day persists. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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