Cleaning up | Inquirer News

Cleaning up

/ 07:54 AM May 21, 2013

It is officially a week after the May 13 elections. We  can count with our fingers the number of candidates who bothered to clean up walls, posts and trees where their campaign materials hung.

The reminder from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for candidates to remove their election posters and streamers  simply wasn’t enough for candidates who were too busy ensuring their victories to bother with smaller details like cleanups.

There were early exceptions, though, like Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza and Mandaue City Jonas Cortes who led teams in scraping off posters in their cities even during the campaign period.


Then there were surprises like Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon who  rounded up some volunteers for his clean up drive.


Was it a coincidence that they all won reelection?

In other parts of the country, again we could count with our fingers the candidates who bothered to send their volunteers to clean up their mess.

Wouldn’t it have been a triumph of civic spirit and sportsmanlike conduct to see people, especially  campaign volunteers of all candidates doing their share to clean up their mess, even if they had lost?

Compared to the last 2010 election which included a presidential race, the May 13 election in Metro Cebu was less littered.

It should have been much cleaner, though, given the  noise made by the Comission on Elections (Comelec) Regional director Temie Adlawan about going hard on violators because the cluttered posters are “the face of the election” he most wanted to reform.

After all  is  said and violated, do we see any criminal complaint filed for violation of election laws?


Until a real consequence is felt by an offender, the constant reminders to obey rules will ring like a hollow threat.

The law itself packs a wallop, when it says the illegal material is presumed to have the consent of the candidate who can’t give the flimsy excuse that he wasn’t aware that an overeager supporter had placed it there.

With the presumption placed on the candidate, what’s stopping the Comelec from going ahead and following through? It would a big change to see the Comelec issue not just a notice of warning with a 5-day grace period to remove the offending material, but file actual charges in court.

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If a candidate can  spend millions of pesos for out of town sorties, advertisements, meals for  volunteers and (especially) vote-buying , why can’t his team allocate a modest amount for cleaning up the backyard they have dirtied up?

TAGS: posters

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