Campaigns get negative in final stretch
MANILA, Philippines -- Netizens reported desperate negative tactics used by candidates as the campaign season wound up.
Posted on various social networking sites, the reports ranged from poster violations and black propaganda to “epalitics” tactics.
Such campaign tactics characterize Philippine elections and they usually surface towards the end of the campaign period. They are resorted to by candidates hoping to sway more voters to shade the circle across their names.
In the Philippines, “epal,” a term derived from the Filipino cliché “kulang sa pansin,” could refer to politicians who use government-funded projects to promote themselves.
This practice heightened during the campaign season, with politicians taking advantage of government projects to advance their campaigns despite warnings from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify ‘epal’ bets.
On the Anti-Epal facebook page, Jhun Silvestre posted a photo of a streamer thanking a number of politicians for the construction of a foot bridge.
Another photo on Facebook posted by Francis Rico Javier reported a case of poster violation in Pasig. Large posters allegedly sprouted within the vicinity of Pasig precincts just 3 days before elections.
Aside from violating the Comelec's elections rule prohibiting posters larger than 2x3 feet, the posters were allegedly superimposed over existing campaign collaterals. Local government funds were allegedly spent on them.
Philippine elections are also marred by political mudslinging and black propaganda. In Imus, Cavite, comic strips linking incumbent Gov Jonvic Remulla to a case of misallocation of funds circulated.
Through a newsletter, Remulla denied the allegations and told people that government records can attest to his performance.
Poll watchdog Kontra Daya - Mindanao also reported the labeling of left-leaning partylists and senatorial candidate Bayan Muna Rep Teddy Casiño as "rebels and communists." They called it "black propaganda and harassment" against the progressive bets.
Other posters found outside common posting areas assigned by Comelec have also been spotted plastered on billboards, hanging on live electricity wires and light posts.
Jhon Gorme posted on the Anti-Epal Facebook account a photo of senatorial candidate Nancy Binay's campaign ad emblazoned on a public monument in Bacoor, Cavite.
Binay performed well in surveys even if she has been widely criticized for not participating in senatorial debates.
In Pangasinan, posters of a vice gubernatorial candidate Arturo Lomibao were reported to have been slashed from their posting area, littered all over.
Lomibao, Alaminos Mayor Hernani Baraganza's running mate under Liberal Party, is up against Jose Ferdinand Calimlim, the vice gubernatorial bet of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC).
In Naga City, campaign volunteers of Camarines Sur congressional candidate Atty Nelly Villafuerte threw candies in one of her motorcades.
A vote-buying complaint was filed against the Villafuertes on Tuesday, May 7.
On the flip side, voters have been active in reporting and condemning negative practices that characterize the Philippine elections.
In Cavite, some anonymous groups put up banners campaigning against vote buying. Some anti-vote buying posters were found all over Cavite.
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