Prelate fears premature campaigning-A A +A
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
A CATHOLIC prelate expressed anxiety over possible premature campaigning after thousands of residents trooped to the St. Augustine Cathedral and later marched toward the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to show support to incumbent Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano in filing his certificate of candidacy (COC) last Friday.
Msgr. Elmer Abacahin said he is hoping there would no violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
Abacahin celebrated the mass for the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) at the St. Augustine Cathedral with Emano, his team and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Abacahin said he is stunned upon seeing more than 20,000 people inside and outside the cathedral.
“We hope there is no violation of the Omnibus Election Code and that there is no premature campaigning when supporters came and show their support,” he said.
Abacahin said the idea of change and renewal must come from the passion of politicians in really helping and serving the people.
He also urged the people to reflect before exercising the rights to suffrage.
“We hope it is an opportune time for the people to reflect on these candidates if they are pro-life, pro-environment and pro-God,” Abacahin said.
The supporters, who came from different villages of the city, joined the mass and marched with Emano towards the Comelec but reports said they just came as “ordered.”
A copy of Memorandum 17-2012 dated October 4 signed by Cugman village chief Ricardo Pacheco obtained by Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro stated that barangay council members, employees, barangay health workers, collectors, barangay nutrition scholars and village watchmen “are directed to attend and support the activity ‘Emano for Mayor’ and that “attendance will be checked.”
However, Section 93 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code stated that local officials are prohibited from engaging directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity including using his authority to influence his constituents.
“No local official or employee in the career civil service shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity or take part in any election, initiative, referendum, plebiscite, or recall, except to vote, nor shall he use his official authority or influence to cause the performance of any political activity by any person or body,” the law says.
“However, he may express his views on current issues, or mention the names of certain candidates for public office whom he supports. Elective local officials may take part in partisan political and electoral activities, but it shall be unlawful for them to solicit contributions from their subordinates or subject these subordinates to any of the prohibited acts under the Omnibus Election Code," it added.
But Emano, during his weekend radio program, denied accusations that he compelled village officials to be present on Friday.
“Wala gayud nako pugsa ang mga kapitan ug mga tawo pagtambong. Gani, kadtong nakuha nga memorandum sa Barangay Cugman, dili man ang kapitan ang nagpirma,” he said.
Emano said the propaganda was an insult to the people who supported him when he filed his COC.
He said 76 out of the city’s 80 barangays joined him and his team on Friday.
“Upat lang ka kapitan ang wala niuban atong panahona pero adunay mga tawo sa ilang barangay nga niduyog,” Emano added.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 09, 2012.