As useful as warning labelsCebu Daily News
The distribution of calendars bearing the photo of the Osmeña family and the timing of the one page ad placed by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) justifying the Liberal Party’s selection of Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district are just two examples of officials flaunting or skirting the country’s largely ineffective election campaign laws.
It’s not like Osmeña needs the publicity after he spends time talking about his chances of winning back Cebu City’s mayoralty seat as if it’s already in the bag.
Needling Mayor Michael Rama about his achievements and his status as perhaps Cebu City’s longest serving mayor is quite typical of the congressman, who cites as his advantage his ties with Interior and Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas, who also happens to be LP national president.
Fortunately for Rama, he has in his corner former city councilor Joceyln Pesquera who clarified Osmeña’s claims and had been the thorn on his side after she clarified a lot of issues involving the incumbent mayor, including his adamant stance against the payment of P130 million for the lot claims of the Rallos heirs.
Still, expect Osmeña and Rama to up their ante even before the February campaign period is officially declared open by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In justifying the distribution of calendars, Osmeña said it had become an annual practice to distribute these materials especially at the onset of the holiday season. Indeed the latest Osmeña calendars only had the months of October to December 2012.
But it’s not just about Rama, who has his cousin Annabelle Rama’s stable of stars as reliable crowd-drawers to their rallies nor Osmeña whose vaunted political machinery will seek to dominate next year’s elections in Cebu City that are capable of skirting campaign laws.
National candidates like re-electionist Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Loren Legarda also engage in their own high-profile appearances in order to keep them fresh in the public’s collective memory even if it is as kitschy as admitting to a relationship with a starlet (Escudero) or even advocating native dress (Legarda).
Lately even militant lawmakers like Bayan Rep. Teddy Casiño are drumming up public attention for their campaign by engaging in verbal tussles with President Benigno Aquino III, who may or may not have intentionally singled out the leftist legislator when asked about the partylist groups in his trip to New Zealand.
Faced with these tactics, campaign laws in this country are about as useful as the warning labels on cigarettes and liquor bottles that are ignored by its consumers.
Good luck to the Comelec in enforcing them. It’s up to the public whether or not to heed these publicity stunts.
More from this Column:
- For Cebu City in three years
- Plugging the holes
- Fall of (some of ) Cebu’s old guard
- Enhancing notoriety
- Peace must reign in polls