Mike’s surprising reaction-A A +A
Monday, August 20, 2012
WHILE waiting for my case to be heard not too long ago, I watched another lawyer vigorously plead before the court to grant his petition for a writ of preliminary injunction. He was an old friend and he had a reputation for being a persuasive advocate so I was not surprised that he had the judge’s full and, from all indications, sympathetic attention.
Everything changed, however, after the judge asked my friend what he wanted the Court to do. “The bank has foreclosed the mortgage, your client’s property has been sold at public auction, the redemption period has expired and the title has already been consolidated in the name of the buyer. What is there left for the Court to stop?”
In reply, my friend launched another passionate appeal for substantial justice, telling the judge that his court was not just one of law but also of equity. “I agree,” His Honor said. “But tell me, what can I do? What do you want this Court to enjoin?”
I recall that incident because I read in the papers that Mayor Mike Rama has asked the Commission on Elections and the Department of Interior and Local Government to do something about the proliferation of posters in the city. One of them has Mike and Gov. Gwen Garcia’s photos on it together with the words “Together Nothing Happened.”
This is the one that really got Mike incensed, I am told.
The “Type O”, “Type O Angry Ko” and “Together…” posters are obviously election-related materials. You can even say that they are campaign propaganda. But are they banned?
Does their display or distribution violate any law? I doubt.
The rules are quite absurd but the Comelec has made them equally quite clear: one cannot be guilty of campaigning outside of the campaign period if he has not filed his certificate of candidacy yet.
So what is Mike asking the Comelec to do? In what way does he want the DILG to intervene?
Does he want the Comelec and the DILG to ban the use of his photo in the offending poster? On what ground, that he did not authorize it?
But as a public official, can his image or resemblance not be considered part of the public domain? And assuming that an invasion of his privacy has been committed, is the DILG or the Comelec the appropriate agency to seek relief from? Doesn’t jurisdiction lie elsewhere?
Mike is an old pro so his reaction is rather surprising. The accusation that he and the governor have not done anything to help the 93-1 lot occupants may appear unfair to him but he knows that being unfairly criticized is part of the territory; that as a public official, he is fair game to even the most evilly-motivated criticism.
Moreover, it is not only his picture that appears in the poster. Garcia’s is in there, too. She is accused of the same neglect that Mike is being charged. But, unlike Mike, she has kept her silence, by choice, I am sure, because she must have read about the poster if she has not actually seen it herself.
Mike should take a page from her book. Don’t fret, Mayor. It’s just a poster, even if it has your photo. Don’t give it any more importance than it deserves. Or, to borrow the language of the governor’s spokesman, don’t be onion-skinned.
In fact, he can do even better by hanging his own “attack posters.” That could raise the level of negative campaigning to heights that we have not seen before. But who cares, even the good old United States of America has more than its fair share of that in the current presidential campaign. As the Americans have long found out, it would be fun.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2012.