In a quaint old town, lived a lonely, rough tough Mayor, named Pepong. On the other side of town, lived his rival- hungry, lazy sleazy Bitong. These two town-mates are never really friends. During social events, Mayor Pepong, being the conservative man that he is, acts like an aristocrat, while Bitong, being the lowlife, acts exactly in the opposite way, a bawdy bully of the town.
As the election season draws near in this quaint old town, the lonely, rough tough Mayor rests uneasy is his palatial abode. He feels that his rival might one day oust him from power on election day. In stark contrast, the hungry, lazy sleazy Bitong effortlessly falls asleep every night in his shabby cabin near the bank of a polluted river, in an untitled land, after attending his regular pastime of merriment which is – drinking gin with his buddies along the filthy streets of town.
Right after the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (CoC) with the local Comelec office, the hungry, lazy, sleazy Bitong did the following, before the start of the campaign period:
• Attended a Barangay activity where he delivered a speech allegedly asking the people to vote for him;
• In another occasion, he allegedly delivered a speech using defamatory statements against Mayor Bitong;
• He published in a leading newspaper information about a survey allegedly showing that he was leading in the polls;
• He paid political advertisements in the newspaper including display of billboards, posters;
• He paid for the display of streamers and posters showing his name;
• Stickers were also made and pasted all over; and
• He was allegedly engaged in vote-buying by distributing shoes to students, telling their parents that by way of gratitude, they should vote for him.
This at long last, sparked the boiling controversy between Mayor Pepong and Bitong like an uncontrollable and unwanted eruption of acne on the satiny skin of a virgin’s face. Such an occurrence could have rocked the entire quaint old town, were it not for the timely intervention of the local Comelec (who, by the way did not take part in accepting attractive goodies from candidates), who asked them to patiently wait for the proper procedure to take place for a ruling will be given out soon.
Is hungry, lazy, sleazy Bitong already considered a candidate when he filed his CoC? If so, could he be held liable for premature campaigning under Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code? Are the present rules still controlling? How come that even before the period for filing CoCs, many posters, ads and banners are seen everywhere, even in social media? Is this not violative of the rules that the Comelec is implementing? What happens to the perennial rivalry of then lonely, rough, tough Mayor and the hungry, lazy, sleazy bum who claims that if there was any violation the latter committed, it was unintentional, it occurred in the natural course of events, and that they are merely snippets of a “violation.” Find out on Election Day at Morning Balitaktakan, this coming Thursday, October 7, 2021, at 9:00 o’clock in the morning, at Regional News Group Luzon. See you there.
****Comments/opinions made in this article are made by me in my personal capacity as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.