The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Wednesday said its candidates did not violate any election law in releasing television commercials and making the rounds of provinces to inform the people of their public engagements.
“No one could tell us or accuse us that we are violating any election law,” said UNA secretary general Tobias Tiangco. He said by phone that even Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. had said that “there is no such thing as premature campaigning.”
“We’re just informing the public. That’s why we go around so that we make people aware, touch base with old friends,” he said.
‘Not sorties, just visits’
UNA, a coalition between political parties of deposed President Joseph Estrada and Vice President Jejomar Binay, is already running TV advertisements featuring its senatorial candidates ahead of Feb. 12, the official start of the campaign period.
Candidates have also been traveling to provinces to meet with local officials, including trips to Batangas last week and to provinces in Cagayan Valley this week. Tiangco had said these trips were “not yet sorties, just visits.”
Sen. Edgardo Angara on Tuesday questioned UNA’s early campaigning when asked by reporters, but quickly took it back and said the television ad did not explicitly ask for people’s votes and just introduced the UNA candidates.
Angara’s son, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, is running for senator under the ruling Liberal Party. The younger Angara also has a TV ad already running well before the official campaign period.
“If we could be liable for premature campaigning, Sonny Angara could be more liable because his TV ads were out earlier,” Tiangco said. Tarra Quismundo