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No law barring candidates from attending graduations

CEBU. Graduates this year will not only expect to receive their diplomas and degrees, but also visits from local and national aspiring candidates of the May 13 midterm elections. But even though there is no law barring candidates from speaking in graduation ceremonies, acting Cebu Provincial Election supervisor Jerome Brillantes urged aspiring politicians to observe "delicadeza." (SunStar foto/ Amper Campaña)

THERE is no provision that prohibits election candidates from attending school commencement rites, a poll official said on Monday, April 1.

But while this may be the case, Acting Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Jerome Brillantes believes that the attendance of political bets to end-of-school-year (EOSY) rites is a matter of "delicadeza."

"Actually, there is no basis na mobawal sa politiko or DepEd (Department of Education) to invite guest speakers na candidates. There's no election offense, delicadeza lang na di mahasol ang activity," Brillantes said.

In public schools, it is common practice to invite politicians to deliver inspirational messages to graduating students during commencement exercises.

Issued last February 18, DepEd Order (DO) 2, series of 2019, provides the guidelines for the conduct of EOSY rites for school year 2018-2019

The order provides that EOSY rites should be scheduled not earlier than April 1, but not later than April 5.

It also provided that EOSY rites and moving-up or completion ceremony for public schools shall be conducted in an appropriate solemn ceremony befitting the learners and their parents, and shall not be used as a political forum.

The DepEd reiterated the strict compliance with DO 48, series of 2018, entitled Prohibition of Electioneering and Partisan Political Activity.

In an earlier report, Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Bianito Dagatan said they were obliged to follow DepEd rules if its officials decided to heed the call of an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for public schools to refrain from inviting candidates to graduation rites.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez earlier urged government agencies and public schools to avoid inviting candidates in the 2019 midterm elections as speakers or guests during the campaign period.

The campaign period for senatorial and party-list candidates started last February 13, while the campaign period for local positions started last March 29.


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