Premature campaigning

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Saturday, October 13, 2012

OUR newspaper, Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, reported last October 9 that our City Mayor Dongkoy Emano filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Comelec Office.

But before that, Emano went with his team, including Vice President Jejomar Binay, to the St. Augustine Cathedral to hear Mass. Fr. (Msgr.!) Elmer Abacahin officiated the Mass in front of hundreds of supporters of Emano, inside and outside the Cathedral.

To say Mass for Emano, I believe, is casting pearls before the swine, more so because he is prematurely campaigning and that is a violation of the Omnibus Election Code. Is this not condoning an evil? Abacahin should have refused to say Mass for Emano. Instead, he could have performed an exorcism. Abacahin said at that occasion that candidates should be pro-life, pro-environment and pro-God. That is true, but he could have said also that candidates must be against vote-buying, against dumping election paraphernalia on the garbage dump, etc.


Candidates should be in politics not for serving their self-interest and maintain a political dynasty but to serve the needs of the people, especially the poor and the less-privileged.

He could have reminded the voters also that they must cast their vote for principled leaders and not for those who offer them money for their vote.

That is also a sin because responsible voting is a Christian obligation and you have to do that out of conscience for a candidate who you believe will serve the nation and not for someone out of “utang ng loob.”

It is good to remind here the candidates and the voters as well that public office is a public trust and that their victory is the mandate of the people. All candidates must tread the path of ‘tuwid na daan’ many times over.

I agree with our President Noynoy when he says: ‘If we let a rotten system to persist, then naturally we will reap what is rotten. It is in our hands to choose which path to take.’

It is the responsibility of candidates and voters as well not to do things the old way anymore. We can’t right a crooked system if we also justify our actions as an old, common practice. (For your comments, email

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 14, 2012.


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