Pre-campaign ads unfair, says senatorial bet

Posted at 12/15/12 5:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The purpose of the television commercials of senatorial candidates is very clear: enhance their chances in the 2013 mid-term elections, a senatorial bet said Saturday.

In a 7-page petition, Atty. Samson Alcantara of the Social Justice Society asked the Supreme Court to stop the airing of the commercials of Reps. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito and Juan Ponce "Jack" Enrile Jr., Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, and Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn.

Alcantara accused them of using the commercials to promote their candidacies for next year's polls.

He said that although their advertisements only seem to inform their constituents of their projects and do not explicitly encourage people to vote for them in 2013, it is clear that they are campaigning prematurely.

"Hindi naman ho kailangan nun ('vote for me'), implied yun eh. At saka sana kung talagang (mag-inform) ang purpose nila, matagal na nilang ginagawa yun. Pero ngayon lang at malapit na ang election. And I wonder whether they will continue these after the elections," he said on ANC.

"Kaya very clear na their purpose is to take advantage of this period over those other candidates like me who cannot afford these commercials. Kawawa naman kami," Alcantara added.

The aspiring senator said that while the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has stated that no law prohibits candidates from promoting themselves before the campaign period, aspiring candidates should still adhere to the Constitution and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Alacantara said some politicians have not acted with utmost responsibility and integrity as public officials.

"They (respondents) have acted contrary to law, good morals and public policy," the petition read.

'Level playing field'

Alcantara also said the government should check where the money, which the candidates use to fund their commercials, come from.
"Some people may be asking, baka naman nagamit yung pork barrel doon sa activities na yan," he said.

He also said that their pre-campaign advertisements are unfair for candidates like him who do not have the funds to produce such television commercials.

"Well, we can resort to other means like travelling to different parts of the country and using social media since limited kami ng resources."

"Pero gusto namin pwede ba i-level naman natin yung playing field? Huwag naman abusado. Porke't may pera ka eh ipapakita mo na kayang-kaya mo na i-advertise ang sarili mo?" Alacantara asked.