CALL it "Operation: Baklas".

Marjorie Morales Sambo, a contender for the Mabalacat mayoralty race, has been allegedly victimized by "Operation: Baklas".

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"Baklas" is a scheme of removing the posters, tarpaulins and other campaign materials prior to election in order to somehow affect the campaign of a candidate.

The operation is usually done by henchmen and "tiradors" of candidates who use the darkness of the night as their cloak in removing campaign materials posted on electric poles, trees, walls and buildings without being noticed by the other candidates' men.

Since last year, tarpaulins and poster materials in different sizes and shapes filled our air and our streets with propaganda materials which many consider as "feelers" to let people know that aspirants are joining the race. Wannabees greet people during every occasion, congratulate every person who hurdles a board exam or has achieved something worthy to be proud of.

Cost of campaign materials is no joke. Prizes of tarpaulin posters range from 10 to 15 pesos per square foot. Add to that is the cost of posting by the "dikit boys" in their ladders and hammers. A small size campaign ad cost about 50 pesos at its cheapest.

The Comelec prohibits the posting of advertisements that are actually campaign ads in their real sense. These materials give undue advantage to those who can afford to start an early campaign and their high cost. The poll body even designates common poster areas for the campaign period and supposedly imposes sanctions to those who violate the regulation. It's the fad anyway and no imposition I think would stop anyone from displaying their tools of the trade.

Going back to MMS, as Marjorie is fondly called, she was singled-out as her leaders cried unfair. Her advertisement materials were removed and destroyed somewhere by group of men who are apparently from other camps. Surprisingly, the other contender who is a doctor by profession was spared from the baklas activities in Mabalacat. It's a way of harassing a candidate even before the official campaign period starts.

While the kingdom of Mabalacat, who is reigned by MMS's father, has the said "cleanliness drive", it is just glaring that only MMS was disfavored considering the fact that some of the political advertisements of the other contender were "never been touched". Several Mabalaqueños called it "unfair".

"Malayo pa ang kampanya sa local, pero umpisa na ang mga dirty tactics ng kalaban", says one of MMS barangay leader. "We expect more harassments on our part and this sends a string signal that we are a threat to the incumbent's candidacy", he added.

Despite all these, MMS remains to be calm and that she opts to remain playing fair and square in her bid. She believes that it is just a part of the machinery of the opponent. An epitome of a kindhearted lady, she wins people with her timid and cool headedness.

With a few more weeks before the opening salvo of the campaign for local candidates, we expect a great and significant political battle in Mabalacat. I've heard that MMS is gaining grounds and improving her stance on the race. Maintaining her machinery on her campaign would surely result to her victory. Indeed she loves Mabalacat, for she has offered herself as an alternative political candidate and a fresh option to the people. I am bent sure that by this time, she has well-armed and readied herself for the war.

In her husband John's quarterbacking and the support of a growing number of leaders, followers and those thirsting for change, many believe she will be the next chief executive of Mabalacat come the second half of 2010.

Goodluck Madam.