Anti-‘epal’ move: Remember their faces, forget their names on poll day
Annoyed by epal politicians’ posters and TV ads? Remember their faces and don’t vote for them come Election Day in May next year.
Constrained by a loophole in the law that disallows premature campaigning by candidates before they file their certificates of candidacy, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) could only offer this piece of advice to voters.
Jurisprudence had allowed premature campaigning, “so technically no law is being violated,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said. “The best way to deal with these epals [is to] remember their faces now and forget their names come election day,” Brillantes made the statement Tuesday via his Twitter account @ChairBrillantes.
The poll chief said that like the rest of the nation, he too was appalled by the proliferation of billboards and posters from this or that personality whose obvious intent is to run for an elective post next year.
“Epal posters cheapen our electoral process as if these candidates are supermarket commodities that need to be advertised,” said Brillantes.
Epal is a play on the words mapapel, Filipino slang for a scene stealer or attention grabber, and kapal or someone who is thick-skinned.
The poll chief noted that with no law prohibiting the putting up of posters bearing the likenesses of would-be candidates, the Comelec could not run after them prior to the campaign period.
Brillantes said that to curb this practice Congress must reenact a law prohibiting and punishing premature campaigning.
“With this, I strongly support and urge the passage of the bill of my good friend [Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago] on premature campaigning,” said Brillantes.
Earlier, Santiago filed an anti-epal measure that penalizes politicians who claim credit for community projects bankrolled by taxpayer money.
The senator last week said she was filing this week a bill that would require would-be candidates to file a certificate of intent to run for public office (Cirpo) six months before the actual filing of certificates of candidacy required by the Comelec.
The bill would bar public officials from engaging in self-promotion or premature image-building during the months leading up to the election campaign period, usually three months before Election Day.
Originally posted: 6:37 pm | Tuesday, September 11th, 2012