If the recent list of poster violations issued by the Commission on Elections is any indication, it seems that Team PNoy candidates are finding it difficult to tread daang matuwid, the right path.
All 12 senatoriables in the administration ticket violated the common poster area rule laid down in the Fair Election Act, with two of them, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel topping the list at four violations each.
Aquino is cousin to the President.
Close second are Juan Edgardo Angara and Antonio Trillanes IV, also from Team PNoy, the dominant majority party in the May 2013 polls. Bayan Muna representative Teodoro Casiño share second place with Trillanes and Angara; they each have three violations.
Posting of campaign propaganda in public places is prohibited under the Fair Election Act. This means that campaign posters are a no go in government and public utility vehicles, waiting sheds, sidewalks, electric posts, traffic signboards, schools, shrines, barangay halls, health centers and public terminals. (Where not to post campaign materials? Click here.)
Seven of the nine candidates from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), the dominant minority, are also in violation of the rule. Ma. Milagros Habana-Magsaysay and Ernesto Maceda are the only ones who were not given a notice from Comelec.
Save for Casiño and Bangon Pilipinas’ Eduardo Villanueva, the list would have been just an enumeration of the two dominant party’s standard bearers, with the exception of Habana-Magsaysay and Maceda for reasons already mentioned. Villanueva, who has two violations, share third place with Team Pnoy’s Francis Joseph Escudero and UNA’s Gregorio Honasan and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
One independent candidate made it to the list, Edward Hagedorn, with one violation.
Team PNoy grabbed the lion’s share of violations, 23 followed by UNA’s 9. Casiño’s Makabayan, a coalition of progressive parties, is third with three violations. Bangon Pilipinas completes the list with two violations.
Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. has said earlier the poll body is going to be very strict in enforcing the common poster area rule to serve as a lesson for local candidates who will start campaigning on March 30.
The candidates are given three days from notice to take down illegal campaign materials. Refusal to do so could lead to administrative and criminal liabilities.--Lala Ordenes, VERA Files
(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)