Church to ‘epal’ politicians: Keep it clean on holiday
A word of advice to “epal” politicians: Don’t take the spotlight away from the dead.
An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Sunday made this appeal, anticipating that cemeteries on All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day would be replete with posters and banners bearing the images of politicians running in the coming elections.
“They should not take advantage of the occasion [to promote themselves] because it’s not proper,” Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, CBCP media director, told reporters in an interview. “Even if it’s not yet the campaign period, putting up banners is being ‘epal’.”
“Epal” is a play on the Filipino term “ma-papel,” which refers to credit-grabbers. This term best describes thick-skinned politicians and election candidates who put up billboards and signs bearing their photographs for image-building.
It also refers to government officials who take credit for projects paid for with tax money.
Since Church officials and priests cannot prevent politicians from putting up their posters in cemeteries, Quitorio said they would leave it to the election hopefuls to do the right thing.
Pope Gregory started it
Instituted by Pope Gregory III on Nov. 1, All Saint’s Day, also known as the “Feast of all Martyrs,” is a day for remembering and honoring those the Church has identified as worth emulating by the faithful.
On the other hand, All Soul’s Day is a feast celebrated on Nov. 2 in commemoration of those who have died.
“Let us not take away the attention from the real intention of the observance of these religious occasions, which is to remember our departed loved ones,” said the CBCP official.
There is no law banning election candidates from premature campaigning. But in the absence of such a law, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has been encouraging the public to resort to a “people power” movement to clear the streets of these visual eyesores.
On Saturday, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the public should take photos of tarpaulins of politicians that might be in display in cemeteries on Thursday and Friday and make them examples of candidates who should not be elected in the 2013 polls.
Mobile app available
Recently, organizers of the Anti-Epal Movement have partnered with Kwan Initiatives, a local technology startup, for mobile application Instapatrol that would allow people to report politicians engaged in shameless campaigning.
Over the weekend, Brillantes said he expected politicians to take advantage of the holidays when hundreds of thousands of people flock to cemeteries nationwide to pay respects to their departed loved ones.