‘ITCHINITIS’

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SOME senatorial candidates are suffering from “itchinitis” – or that irresistible sensational feeling to woo the attention and interest of the Filipino voters.

This week, we have seen or heard the political advertisements of the respective senatorial slates of the ruling Liberal Party who call themselves as Team PNoy and of the United Nationalist Alliance led by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

On appearing on TV ads, they say they are not actually campaigning and therefore, they are not violating any election law at all. The Commission on Elections agrees that no violations have yet been committed as official campaign for those eyeing Senate seats start on Feb. 12.

As long as they do not directly and explicitly ask the voters to vote for them yet, there is nothing illegal here. As conventional wisdom in our long history of electoral campaigns has it, “early bird catches the worm.”

But not all people are amused.  For many, our senatorial candidates and their political parties backing them up are obviously skirting around the country’s electoral law. No, let me correct myself – these national candidates are making a huge mockery of the electoral system and law, and taking the Filipino people for an easy ride.

Come on, guys. In whatever way you want to look at it, it is still plain and simple early campaigning because, when you have filed your certificates of candidacy, people know that your actions would always be to aid yourselves for the May 13 polls.

These senatorial candidates are indeed lucky because their respective political parties have the money to pay for precious and expensive air time on television and radio. But how about the senatorial candidates who are running as independent and do not have the resources to buy air time. That is obviously not the “leveling the playing field” that our lawmakers have in mind when they passed election laws.

In the Philippines, sadly, it is only the moneyed who can run for national and local office, and those who are penniless cannot even if they are more qualified than these senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party and UNA.

The rich get away with the law, and even get elected to public office, while the poor are jailed and lost during elections. Que lastima!

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