CEBU

Espinoza: Illegal campaign posters and party drugs

Free Zone

THE official campaign period for the senatorial candidates began yesterday. It’s literally the start of the don’ts for the candidates and for them to comply with the rules and regulations set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), particularly on the sizes of the campaign posters and the designated common poster areas.

The Comelec announced yesterday that it will start going around and taking note of the candidates’ campaign materials or posters that do not comply with its rules and regulations. The candidates are also directed to take out their posters that are not compliant with the law. Otherwise, they will be subjected to the process of disqualification.

It’s kind of funny that our election laws are strictly enforced only during the official campaign period, but are chilled out after the candidates have submitted their certificates of candidacy. The Comelec rules and regulations appear reactionary. Since there is an official campaign period, then any form of prior campaigning should be illegal.

The current regulations are unfair for candidates who have limited resources. But favorable for candidates with unlimited campaign funds since they can start their campaign long before the official campaign period starts and can put up very huge campaign posters. And, what difference does it make for Comelec now to tear down the candidates’ posters that are not compliant with the rules?

Several local and national elections have passed, but we are yet to know how many candidates were ordered disqualified by the Comelec for violation of the election laws or, particularly on failure of any of the candidates to comply with the rule on the size of the posters.

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Even a non-lawyer knows that no person, who may have committed a crime, could be arrested without a warrant of arrest unless the circumstances fall under what is called a warrantless arrest. The lawyer of Nel Spencer Tiu urged the police to follow the “rule of law” after it was reported that President Duterte has ordered his client’s arrest.

Spencer is the boyfriend of Ashley Abad, who collapsed and later died allegedly due to overdose of a party drug called Ecstasy. President Duterte allegedly ordered the arrest of Tiu after Ashley’s parents had an audience with him last week.

Just like the lawyers, the police are presumed to know the law such that they don’t have to be told to follow the rule of law. Perhaps, the lawyer only wanted to assure his client that the police could not take him into custody until he is charged with a crime.

There is, however, a negative implication on the move of Tiu to stay away from the police investigation on the untimely death of his girlfriend. I understand that all that the police investigators need from Spencer is for him to provide the information as to the source of the Ecstasy.

The police investigators may already have the names of the possible source of the Ecstasy, but had Spencer cooperated in the investigation, it would have been easier for the police to do their work. Spencer’s refusal to cooperate could be misunderstood that he is partly liable for Ashley’s death.

The use of party drugs is not a new thing. The police and the PDEA have admitted that party drugs, aside from the menace of shabu, is another big problem that they have to attend to especially that only those who belong to the middle or upper echelon of society use it during parties. It’s about time, though, for the police to focus their attention on party drugs.


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