Thursday, September 17, 2009

No law was violated in Lakas-Kampi's announcement of preferred bets in 2010 polls

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Prospero Nograles said the Wednesday meeting of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD Executive Committee where Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno emerged as the preferred presidential and vice-presidential bets of the party in 2010 national polls contravened no law.

The Speaker made the statement following concerns posed by some quarters of the possibility or violations of the election law and a Supreme Court ruling against premature announcement of official candidates.

"Why pick on us?" the House leader asked following the executive committee meeting which conducted an "intelligent and secret consensus taking" vote among the party's leaders nationwide.

Nograles even pointed out possible "hairline" transgressions that could be a concern for other parties who have declared presidential candidates. The administration party, he added, have no officially declared bets yet as the party is still in the selection process.

"We violated nothing. Compare this now with other political parties with declared candidates like the Club Filipino gig of the Liberal Party," Nograles noted.

He also is asking about the nationwide caravan of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino or PMP of former President Joseph Estrada and the barrage of infor-commercials costing hundreds of millions of certain declared presidential candidates.

"Even the so-called live television debates of declared presidential candidates aired by ABS-CBN's ANC channel. Talk shows like Wowowee...the Strictly Politics radio interviews of declared presidential candidates and their countrywide mini-rallies including the launch of campaign contributions dubbed as 'piso-piso' are held even in Davao City and elsewhere," Nograles said.

The SWS Pulse Asia surveys publishing the status of the race of candidates for president and related activities "could be defeating the essence" of our election law relative to the prohibited early campaign activities, he said.

"These acts are designed to promote or defeat a candidate or candidates. Under this legal observation, everyone could be disqualified from running especially those leading in surveys. And that is precisely the heart of dissenting opinions of the now celebrated early campaign doctrine of the Supreme Court," Nograles surmised. (Gil Bugaoisan)

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