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ON TARGET

On Target: Do away with huge poll spending

/ 05:48 AM September 22, 2015

Former Sen. Dick Gordon has come up with a bright idea to level the playing field in next year’s presidential election.

Gordon’s proposal would do away with election spending for TV and radio commercials as the government would shoulder the campaign expenses of all candidates.

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In place of TV and radio ads, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would hold daily town hall meetings in every province and city during the campaign period.

All presidential candidates would be required to attend the town hall meetings so they can explain their platforms, answer questions and state their positions on national and local issues before an audience appropriately represented by all sectors.

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The debate would be covered live on radio and TV and other media at government expense.

Candidates who refuse to attend the debates and employ the “guns, goons and gold” strategy would be disqualified.

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Why is Gordon’s proposal worth looking into?

Because it would no longer make any candidate beholden to vested interest groups and individuals who would fund a candidate’s campaign.

A presidential candidate spends at least P2 billion to fund his/her campaign from start to finish; a senatorial candidate, at least P300 million.

A 30-second TV ad alone costs between P500,000 and P850,000. The cost goes up as election day draws near.

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The high cost of a campaign drives a candidate to approach vested interest groups and individuals who demand payback once the candidate holds office.

That’s the reason Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte hesitates to run for president in 2016. He doesn’t want to be indebted to any particular vested interest group or individual.

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The Supreme Court, in an en banc resolution, has ordered Makati City Regional Trial Court Judge Winlove Dumayas to explain why he acquitted four young men who stabbed dead US Marine Maj. George Anikow during a brawl in 2012 at the gate of posh Bel-Air Village in the city.

The order takes on the nature of an administrative case against Dumayas, which might cost him his job or disbarment.

Dumayas suspended the prison sentence of two of Anikow’s assailants and acquitted the two others.

The obviously unjust verdict prompted US Ambassador Philip Goldberg to comment that not one of the four has “served a day for that brutal crime.”

If that case was heard by another more scrupulous judge, the four would have been convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

All the elements of murder were present: It was a four-vs-one fight; the victim was unarmed while the accused were wielding knives; the assailants chased the victim, who ran away from the fight, to finish him off.

The four men are scions of wealthy families, most probably the reason Dumayas acquitted them.

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In the same high court resolution, Makati Judge Josephine Adevento-Vito Cruz was reprimanded for allowing two Canadian drug traffickers to post bail.

The reprimand was disproportionate to a serious offense.

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TAGS: bail, Crime, Dick Gordon, Elections, George Anikow, Josephine Adevento-Vito Cruz, On Target, poll spending, Ramon Tulfo, stabbing, Supreme Court, Winlove Dumayas
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