Marc Lino Abila
National Deputy Secretary General
COMELEC continues on bashing progressive partylists that posted on prohibited areas and even threatened disqualification if posters are not retracted but has been very lenient to Palace-backed senatorial candidates who did the same.
Members and volunteers of Kabataan Partylist spent their weekend on removing Kabataan Partylist’s campaign posters in Metro Manila and other parts of the country in compliance with the COMELEC Resolution No. 9615. Postering is the most accessible way for marginalized groups to campaign unlike traditional politicians who can afford ads on print, radio and television.
“This intensified COMELEC guidelines would only create an elitist and exclusive political playground of affluent parties like Liberal Party and United Nationalist Alliance,” said Marc Lino Abila, Deputy Secretary General of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. “Airtime and ad space would be decadent for marginalized sectors.”
“COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez was strict with the common poster areas but not with the premature campaigning of national and local politicians and the distribution of Philhealth cards by campaigning politicians,” Abila added referring to COMELEC’s stand on premature campaigning and the absurd profusion of political ads even before the official start of the campaign period.
“The intention of the resolution may be better, but it further marginalizes parties and candidates that don’t have large campaign funds. This section basically contradicts the value of fairness that the Fair Elections Act aims to achieve,” Kabataan Partylist National President Terry Ridon said on Kabataan Partylist’s website.
COMELEC should review their guidelines for election campaigning. “For their part, COMELEC should also intensify the information drive regarding designated campaign posting areas,” Ridon added.
“COMELEC has been very critical to small partylists since the first day of the campaign period on February 12 but very tolerant on senatorial candidates who are also violating the rules,” Abila added. “Especially, those candidates supported by Malacañang.”
“COMELEC should be fair to all the candidates,” Abila said. “The most imperative issue that COMELEC should focus on are the glitches in the PCOS machines and ensure that wholesale cheating will not happen instead of running after progressive partylists for resorting to the most practical way to campaign. And as campus journalists, we will be the watchdog of the youth and the people to ensure fair and honest elections.” ###