CANDIDATES from both administration and opposition parties in Cebu City will take advantage of the Holy Week—not to campaign, they said, but to rest and attend retreats.

Former Air Force first lieutenant Francisco Ashley Acedillo, who is running for north district representative under the Samahang Magdalo Para sa Pagbabago, said the Holy Week will be a time for him to rest and reflect.

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“It’s a two-day moratorium and a welcome break for me. I’ll take advantage to rest physically and reconnect spiritually,” he said. Acedillo added he will not be campaigning not only because it is prohibited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) but so as not to appear irreverent.

The Comelec has prohibited candidates from campaigning on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Jonathan “Atan” Guardo, south district congressional candidate of Kugi Uswag Sugbu (Kusug), said he and his family will be taking an out-of-town vacation together with the family of lawyer Alvin Garcia, their party’s mayoral candidate.

In a phone interview, Raymond Garcia, spokesperson of Kusug and candidate for north district city councilor, said the party will not be attending religious activities as it may be misconstrued as politicking.

“We will just spend time with our family and rest because we have been going around since we filed our certificate of candidacy,” he said.

Raymond, however, added they will not stop their candidates if they decide to attend religious activities during the Holy Week.

Vice Mayor Michael Rama, the mayoral candidate of the administration party Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan, said he will be attending religious activities like the Buhing Kalbaryo and the Way of the Cross.

Rama added it will not be a way of campaigning since he has been attending such activities for 13 consecutive years.

He said he cannot abandon the participants of the Buhing Kalbaryo, which he first organized in 1998. He also begged off from giving a Lenten message to his political opponents, citing the Biblical passage that “he that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”

His rival, former mayor Garcia, said the Holy Week will be a good opportunity to reflect on and seek change.

“Kitang tanan gyud maghinulsol sa atong mga sala og magbasol sa atong kalapasan og magbag-o, labi na bahin sa politika (We all need to repent and to change our ways, especially in Politics),” Garcia said.

Mayoral candidate John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña appealed for politicians to avoid taking advantage of the Holy Week activities.

“Panahon man gyud ron sa paghinulsol sa atong mga sala; kinsa ma’y walay sala nato? Ato gyong hinuktukan ang mga sakripisyo ni Kristo niining panahuna, pero dili lang nato sagulan ug pamulitika (It’s time for all of us to repent. No one among us can claim not to have sinned. We need to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice, but let us keep politics out of it),” Osmeña said.

Georgia Osmeña, who is also running for the mayoral seat in the city, said: “My message for my political opponents this Holy Week is to repent, confess your sins and lie no more.”

The four mayoral candidates said they will suspend their campaign sorties on Thursday and Friday, in deference to the observance of Holy Week.