Team PNoy bet suspends online contest-A A +A
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
A DAY after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) threatened to slap an election offense against a senatorial candidate of Team PNoy for illegal campaigning online, contest organizers conspicuously removed the game from the social networking accounts of Jamby Madrigal.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Wednesday that suspending the contest is the best move on Madrigal's part as of the moment. He added that the poll body is on the process of evaluating on whether or not Madrigal committed unlawful campaigning.
"Kung ititigil niya, maybe that would mitigate the action," Brillantes said of the Facebook and Twitter contest of the senatorial candidate.
The online contest started by Madrigal offers an iPad to a participant who will join a fill in the blank contest online, which has something to do with her anti-corruption advocacy.
Madrigal's lawyer said his client was not aware of the online promo.
In a press briefing held at the Balay headquarters of the Liberal Party (LP) in Cubao, Quezon City, lawyer Ernesto Francisco said Madrigal's volunteers – whom she had never met – were behind the online contest.
"Senator Madrigal apologizes to the Comelec for what the volunteers must have done. She wants to assure the Comelec and the public that such incident will not be repeated. From here on, she will make sure that her campaign team will follow the elections law," Francisco said.
On her Twitter account (@TheRealJamby), Madrigal was encouraging her 607 followers to "speak their mind out about corruption and win an iPad." The tweet included a hyperlink that leads to an error page on Facebook that says the content was already "unavailable."
Section 104 of the Omnibus Election Code states that "no candidate, his or her spouse or any relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, or his campaign manager, agent or representative shall, during the campaign period, on the day before and on the day of the election, directly or indirectly… make any donation, contribution or gift in cash or in kind."
Violations of the Code carry a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of rights of suffrage, and disqualification to hold public office.
After Madrigal's case, the commission admitted that it is now keener on looking after possible campaign violations happening online among candidates.
"There are other violations, of course, on the ground but the ones we are zeroing on now are mostly what we see online," said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.
The poll official said they are also hot on the tracks of the social media networks, such as, Facebook and Twitter.
Jimenez noted that Comelec Resolution No. 9615 had introduced the first rules on campaigning online or over the internet in the country.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the administration slate appealed to the Comelec for some leeway on campaigning through social media.
"I need to be able to stress that social media is a venue for campaigning. It's entirely a new terrain. It's something that has not been used so actively as much as it is being used today and we need to be able to harmonize our election laws so that candidates get a clear picture and as well as supporters on how we can use this," Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo said during the briefing. (Kathrina Alvarez/HDT/Sunnex)