El Presidente-A A +A
One Small Voice
Thursday, January 10, 2013
THE law is the law and there is nothing more, or nothing less we can do except to follow its letter, and its intent.
If and when we disagree with a law, the way to change it is through and only through legislation. A law can never be reviewed, revised, altered, withdrawn or strengthened just through whining, moaning and barking. An old law can be amended, but through and only through legislation. A new law can be enacted, but through and only through legislation. There is just no other way.
Therefore, it is through and only through our legislators in the Senate and in the House of Representatives that we can request or demand if we want changes. Well, it can also be through the provincial, city, municipal and even barangay councils if the law we are concerned about is an ordinance. But, by and large, it is really Congress that we have to petition or influence if we want changes.
The tragedy is that members of Congress, more often than not, once they have won the elections, push for their own personal interests or, at the very least, protect their own interests, in a way that they will mostly do anything that will give them an advantage, and they will mostly not do anything that will give them a disadvantage.
It is in this regard that an issue, now the subject of too much whining, now the subject of too much moaning, now the subject of too much barking, will continue to remain as an issue even if we all lost our voices whining, moaning and barking. It is allowed by law or, at the very least, it is not prohibited by law, which has essentially the same effect.
This issue is the issue of early campaigning, at least in terms of TV commercials, radio advertisements, posters with all sorts of greetings for all sorts of holidays, and everything else that are the subjects of complaints by anti-epal advocates.
First, an issue is raised because public funds may have been used and may continue to be used for all these personal early campaigning materials.
Second, an issue is raised because even if private money has indeed been used, like a donation from supposed friends, these donors may have been given and may continue to be given preferential treatment in government transactions.
Third, an issue is raised because even if personal money has actually been used, like it is the personal money of the candidate anyway, these amounts could have otherwise been used for more worthwhile endeavors like direct support for social services.
Fourth, an issue is raised because those who have more money to do early campaigning will have an undue advantage against those who have less money to do early campaigning or even just campaigning for that matter, making elections a money contest instead of one about principles, platforms and positions.
Fifth, an issue is raised against the uninhibited, unmanageable and uncontrollable proliferation of early campaigning materials on walls, fences, posts, wires and every other place where anything can be hanged, tied, pasted, installed or however which way, creating an environmental hazard, an accident threat or a public nuisance.
All of the above, and so much more, are legitimate issues that have been raised over and over again. But, then again, the law on early campaigning does not cover all these clearly early campaigning tactics, for the law and all court rulings on the matter at present simply, or not so simply, do not consider them as violations.
Hence, the only way to solve this problem, if in truth and in fact it is really considered a problem, is to pass laws banning early campaigning earlier.
Thus, since Congress is in charge of making laws, since Congress can actually be persuaded or influenced if and when there is enough political will as shown in the recent passage of landmark legislation on several controversial items, this is a job for El Presidente.
Comments are most welcome. Please send them to email@example.com.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 11, 2013.