Respect the dead
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, through media office director Pedro Quitorio and the Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr., have appealed to politicians to keep cemetery grounds free from the campaign materials that are often seen displayed in grave sites during past campaign seasons.
Quitorio reminded “epal” politicians that All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is for the faithful departed and not for them to gain political mileage, asking them not to put up posters, streamers and other campaign materials in cemeteries. Comelec chairman Brillantes also urged politicos to spare the cemeteries and memorial parks from propaganda in deference to the dead.
In the absence of a law stopping thick faced politicians from campaigning during the early November holidays when thousands of Filipinos troop to the cemeteries to visit their dead loved ones and relatives, the Comelec and the CBCP are left with no choice but to appeal to the “consciences” of the politicians. We should see in a few days if the politicians who say they are fit to lead our communities have consciences or not.
If the Comelec and the CBCP cannot stop the “epal” politicians from putting up campaign materials in cemeteries and memorial parks, then the only thing that can punish the conscienceless would be public backlash. The public can still punish the thick-faced opportunists by taking note of who are the ones guilty of putting up tasteless campaign materials so we know what to do when election day comes. We can also take pictures of their posters and streamers and then share the “epalness” with our friends on social media or send to traditional media outlets so that everyone can see who the Comelec and the CBCP were referring to.
Until Congress comes up with a law defining and penalizing premature campaigning, it will be up to the people and the media, both new and traditional, to discourage politicians from misbehaving whilst the official campaign period has not yet begun. The first few days of November will set the trend and for now, it is entirely up to the public to tell the epal politicians when enough is enough.*