Oh God! It has been a long time since I have last written a commentary. Too busy of course, but oh well, here I am writing because I feel the urge to after witnessing the exchange between senatorial candidate Teddy Casino and a good friend Dr. Clinton Balud.
Here’s what happened yesterday (You can visit Dr. Clinton’s blog for full account):
Dr Clinton asked Teddy Casino about the latter’s endorsement of Collette’s Buko Pie. Casino answered in a way not addressing the question properly. I butted in and lay the crux of the question explicitly: Is it legal for a candidate to endorse SMEs during the campaign season?
Casiño does this not only with the Collette’s Buko Pie, but also for the Teddy Cares bear. I have read that they do this in order to sustain the campaign expenditures since Casino is running independently (I read that in a news article but I am just too lazy to look for it right now).
I know Dr. Clinton has not received a response from COMELEC neither did Casino address this question.
Disclosure: Yes, I have met with campaign team of Casino last Monday when they were asking for help on their campaign. No, I am not part of the campaign team nor did I subscribe to their offer for me to join the campaign. I was there because I was invited by a good friend who supports Teddy Casino.
During that brief encounter, it was mentioned that promoting with SMEs is legal and adheres to the elections rules. I had no chance to verify that during that time and I actually had believed that it was legal. That is why I kinda led Casino on how to respond to Dr. Clinton’s questions. But I will go back to that later.
So now, the record has been straighten out
Back to the question above, I am not a lawyer whatsoever but I will try to put my two cents on it.
Is it legal? Here is what COMELEC says
Sec 6. Lawful Election Propaganda. Election propaganda, whether on television, radio, newspaper or any other medium, is hereby allowed for all parties and all bonafide candidates seeking national and local elective positions subject to the limitation on authorized expenses of candidates and parties, observation of truth in advertising, and to the supervision and regulation by the Commission.
Lawful election propaganda shall include
(h) All other forms of election propaganda not prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code .
(Comelec Resolution 9615)
So what does the Omnibus Election Code says. I direct you to Article 82 of the code. (It’s too long to be quoted and I am lazy shit right now). Does it say that promotion via SME is illegal? No it did not.
So my conclusion for now is that it is not illegal for Teddy Casino to promote with SME. Is it epal then? I do not think so considering it is election season and there is a difference in definition of epal between pre-campaign and campaign season. (Of course I may be wrong, feel free to disprove me. After all, I am not a lawyer)
Now that I have concluded such, let me point out one major flaw of Casino’s campaign.
What is wrong with Teddy Casino?
Simple. He is not answering the questions right away. He avoids answering them but instead, he deflects the issue so the tendency is everything gets complicated that the issue becomes unclear with all those sideline arguments.
Personally, I think Dr. Clinton may have gone a little bit wrong when he assumed that the Buko Pie-Casino thing is illegal and posed the question to Casino with a little hostility (Dear Doc, I know you do not mean it like that but that is what I felt, and I will be proving a point here). That would make Casino in the defensive stance.
The thing about being defensive stance is that you try to react impulsively but that is not the case for Casino. There was a time gap between the doctor’s question and Casino response. Hence, the response is not impulsive.
If Casino really believes that it is legal for him to do so, he should have answered like: “IT is legal. Here’s the comelec provision “quote the provision”. Ano kayo ngayon?“. That way, it would have settled the issue once and for all. But no, Casino dodged the question, it has incubated for like 24 hours and boom, he’s now being accused of putting down Dr. Clinton’s post. (Masisi mo ba si Dr. Clinton?). (Does this remind you of something? Clue: Vince Borneo)
Also, I have helped him to clarify his stance by laying the crux of the question explicitly. But did he answer? He did not.
I told the campaign team to have Casino answer the questions head-on and right away. Do I think they listened to me? With what is happening, I do not think so. This is the problem of Teddy, he cannot get his messaging straight. People only want him to be straight to the point and he just won’t. The thing is, he lacks the political machinery to run a national campaign so his only hope in winning is by straightening his messaging. The thing about him is that he is the kind of candidate that would really provide an ideological clash in the senate, and that is his main value proposition. The thing is though, he just won’t have his message straight.
Most of the candidates are guilty of not answering the questions
I am not singling out Casino here. In fact, this symptom is apparent to most of the candidate. They simply dodge the questions and answer on either generality or twist it in such away that it will seem like they have answered them when in fact their answers are like galaxies away from the point. How could we trust such candidates? How can we be sure that they will be accountable to us if they would not just answer questions?
That’s for us to think about. We must think really hard on this.