CEBU Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said candidates should attend forums, especially those organized by the youth, as an opportunity for them to educate the public about poll automation.
The statement, though, was not a dig at the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan’s (BOPK) policy not to have its candidates join forums with their political opponents. It was meant to encourage candidates to help in the voter’s education campaign by ensuring that their supporters know how to vote properly.
Castillano was a guest speaker during a candidates’ forum last Friday at the University of the Philippines Visayas Cebu College, where he gave an orientation on poll automation.
“Importante nga sa forums sa youth, naa pud untay mga kandidato…. Maninguha pud sila ma-educate ang mga botante (It’s important for the candidates to attend youth forums to educate voters),” he said.
The candidates’ forum was for Cebu City north district congressional candidates to present to a panel their platforms and answer questions from the students.
Only former Air Force pilot Ashley Acedillo, Lahug Barangay Captain Mary Ann de los Santos, and former National Bureau of Investigation 7 director Florencio Villarin showed up.
Rachel “Cutie” del Mar, whom her father, Rep. Raul del Mar, has groomed to take his place, did not attend the activity.
Through a letter, she told organizers a BOPK rule prevents them from joining forums and other gatherings where their opponents are present.
Mayor Tomas Osmeña had said people flock to gatherings because of BOPK candidates like him, and their opponents are only there to share in the exposure.
The opposition, however, has branded BOPK gatherings as similar to entertainment shows, where people sing and dance, instead of serving as avenues for them to enlighten the public on how they intend to solve the city’s woes.
In the same forum last week, Castillano acknowledged that jamming of the precinct count optical scan machine’s signal by unscrupulous individuals amy be a problem in the May 10, 2010 elections.
But he assured that the Comelec and technology provider Smarmatic-TIM are doing something to prevent this from happening. (RHM)