THE clash of the senatorial titans will begin this Sunday in Baguio City.
For the first time after the campaign period started January 13, the Liberal Party (LP) and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) are both holding their provincial sorties in the Summer Capital this Sunday.
Both the LP’s Team PNoy and the UNA senatorial slate are taking advantage of the presence of two top officials of the country, President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay, who will grace the graduation rites of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Commission on Elections (Comelec) assistant regional director Reddy Balarbar confirmed the campaign rallies of LP and UNA this Sunday as campaign organizers informed local election officials this week.
Balarbar, who sits as officer-in-charge of Comelec-Baguio, said they will monitor both rallies for the presence of oversized campaign posters, including other prohibitions in the Fair Elections Act.
The Comelec official revealed campaign organizers were asking for rally permits from the government agency but were directed to acquire these permits from the local government.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan, in his weekly Ugnayang Panlungsod radio program Wednesday, confirmed the arrival of the senatorial slate of UNA and will conduct their rally Sunday afternoon at the Baguio Convention Center.
Domogan said he is also aware of Aquino and Binay’s arrival in the city for the PMA graduation and the senatorial candidate’s campaign rally in separate areas.
Congressional candidate Mark Go, who also leads the LP in Baguio, said all is set for the senatorial campaign rally that will start at 2 p.m. at the Melvin Jones grandstand.
He said majority of LP senatorial candidates will come from La Union by Sunday after the president finishes his speaking engagement in PMA. Others will be joining the president at the PMA graduation rites.
The UNA slate, on the other hand, will come from a rally in Candaba, Pampanga on Saturday and will start their rally with a motorcade in the Central Business District on Sunday and will converge at the Baguio Convention Center.
Balarbar said they called on local officials who will join the rallies of national officials to adhere to calls of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. for delicadeza since the campaign period for local positions starts March 29.
“At this point, they are not yet considered as candidates, so we are calling for delicadeza that they would not take advantage of the rally. But we cannot stop them from being acknowledged or called on stage during rallies,” he said.
As to national officials, he said there will certainly be gimmicks of giving campaign freebies but stressed they should adhere to the Fair Elections Act including the sizes of their campaign posters.
“Once they get the permit, they may set-up posters measuring 2x3 feet for the candidates and 3x5 feet announcing the rally. But this should be removed in 24 hours,” he said.
Comelec stressed it will strictly monitor these posters to ensure implementation of the Fair Elections Act.