Tuesday, December 29, 2009

As ban is lifted, candidates campaign during the holidays

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:27:00 12/29/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20091229-244614/As-ban-is-lifted-candidates-campaign-during-the-holidays

MANILA, Philippines—With the ban on premature campaigning lifted, most politicians are not using the holidays to rest. Instead, those running for public office next year are pressing flesh and doing their best to stay visible through advertisements and posters.

The Supreme Court’s decision lifting the ban on premature campaigning has effectively opened the campaign season.

Before the ruling came last month, many lawmakers were anxious about which of their actions—from starring in a movie to giving away calendars with their faces plastered on them—would be construed as premature campaigning.

Now that almost anything is allowed, one of the aspirants for the presidency, Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro, is hopping from province to province during the holidays to keep his name on people’s minds. Teodoro was recently in Quezon province.

Teodoro’s spokesperson, Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros Magsaysay, said the lifting of the premature campaigning ban helped Teodoro to gain ground, especially since he only started pushing his plans for the presidency when he resigned from the defense department on Nov. 15.

“We were able to maximize his exposure and [get him to] explain himself by making him attend all city and provincial invitations and sorties. Because of the lifting, we can maximize his TV, radio and print ads, tarpaulins and hand-outs, attend all invitations and caucuses,” Magsaysay said on Tuesday.

Teodoro has been lagging behind in the surveys, although his supporters are touting the administration party’s machinery and his credentials as his tickets to victory.

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar continues to be very visible on TV, where at least two of his TV advertisements are shown on rotation. One TV ad features street children singing that Villar, who came from a poor family, understands their needs. The other ad shows comedian Michael V. interviewing Villar on his plans and platform.

Front runner Sen. Benigno Aquino III has not been seen much. The Liberal Party standard-bearer has not maximized the free pass to campaign and is instead using the holidays to rest and prepare for the hectic months ahead, according to LP spokesperson Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III.

Aquino has put out one new advertisement for Christmas, where he thanked the people for consoling with him and his family as they grieved the loss of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino. His running mate Mar Roxas also has a Christmas ad with his wife and teenage son.

Tañada noted that Aquino’s only sortie was a visit to Albay, where thousands have been evacuated because of the threat of Mayon Volcano’s eruption.

“Outside of that, in the two weeks spanning Christmas and New Year, there are no scheduled out of town activities,” he said.

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20091229-244614/As-ban-is-lifted-candidates-campaign-during-the-holidays

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