Campaign as you will--you can-A A +A
Friday, October 5, 2012
FILING a certificate of candidacy (COC) was dreaded by politicians. It used to be the cutoff on free-wheeling campaigning and the start in enforcing restrictions.
Not anymore. Not since the Supreme Court, in Penera vs. Comelec and Andanar (promulgated Sept. 11, 2009), ruled that the prohibitions will be in force only once the "official" campaign period starts.
For next year's elections, it will be from March 29 to May 11, for House members and local officials; and Feb. 12 to May 11, for senators and party-list representatives.
No prohibited acts before the filing of COCs, because they were not candidates yet, and after the filing of COCs, because it's not the official campaign period yet.
Examine the baffling logic: The prohibited acts aren't prohibited because it's not the campaign period yet. Actually, everyone campaigns and rules on prohibited acts don't apply because it's not the campaign period yet.
The assumption is that nobody campaigns until the official campaign period starts. Totally unrealistic. Some politicians even campaign the whole year and full term round.
Regulators set an official campaign period but don't make campaigning outside the said period illegal. Ridiculous.
Not Comelec, not even lawmakers can be faulted, although Congress can plug the gaping hole opened by the SC's ruling, which, ha ha, cites free speech for striking down the prohibitions.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 05, 2012.