THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) called on government agencies and public schools to avoid inviting candidates in the May 13 polls to be their guest of honor or guest speaker now that the campaign period has started.
In a media forum in Manila, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said it would be better if official events of government agencies and public schools would be free from what could be perceived as partisan political activities.
“We should avoid the appearance of partisanship by avoiding inviting candidates to speak at our events or to participate in any of our official functions,” said Jimenez.
He said such instances will certainly be perceived as partisan political activities, as they will provide particular candidates the opportunity to promote themselves.
“It seems logical that if you were to force your staff or members to listen to someone speak and be political at that event, then you might be imposing your political views on them,” he said.
He noted how even President Rodrigo Duterte made a similar call for all government agencies to maintain neutrality.
“To the words of the President: avoid all political partisanship,” he said.
The poll official, though, admitted that there is no specific rule or law that prohibits such invitations from being done.
“We don’t need to just be careful about the appropriateness of our actions, we also need to be concerned about the appearance of the propriety in our actions,” said Jimenez.
In the past, candidates are often invited to serve as guest of honor or guest speaker during public events, such as school graduations and anniversaries of government agencies. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)