Casiño wants clear definition of ‘epal’By Matikas Santos
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño said that the two anti-epal bills in the House of Representatives and Senate differed in the legal definition of “epal” or credit-grabbing politicians.
Casiño’s bill in the House disallows the naming of streets, classrooms, gymnasiums, parks, other public places, and government projects or programs after an incumbent government official or their relatives, he said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990AM Thursday.
“[Politicians] should not take credit because it’s not their money. It’s the country’s money. It should also not be allowed to perpetuate the power of a political dynasty,” Casiño said. This was connected to the constitutional provision that prohibits political dynasties, he added.
Meanwhile, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s anti-epal bill in the Senate, pertains to signs and billboards that are put up near government projects, Casiño said.
For example, if there are road maintenance works being done, officials should not put up signs with their faces on it.
“Even if [the road] will not be named after them, the act of putting up a billboard with their name on it is what Senator Santiago wants to disallow,” Casiño said.
For the public however, their definition of “epal” was wider in scope. Government officials who put up any tarpaulin, like greetings during fiestas or other occasions, are also labelled as “epal,” Casiño added.
“The important thing is for us to clearly define legally what ‘epal is’” he said.
The problem is “epal” is a relative term. Partylist representatives in congress have to be “epal” and speak out on issues that were affecting their constituents, Casiño said.
He said that, generally, people view “epal” as government officials who try to get credit for public projects and become more popular to people.
For more of the interview, listen to Radyo Inquirer 990AM .