Teodoro camp assails restriction

PNS — “THAT’S discriminating.”

This is how the camp of Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro described the statement of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the Commission on Elections that showbiz personalities should go on leave once they endorse political candidates.

Mike Toledo, the newly-designated spokesperson of Teodoro, said that they are ready to question the regulation.

“Imposing this regulation means depriving a person of his right to express or show support for a candidate,” he said.

According to Toledo, there might be some celebrities who will endorse Teodoro.

The administration bet is scheduled to shoot a television commercial either in Davao or Kidapawan within the week, but Toledo is not certain if there are actors or actresses included in the commercial.

Among the presidential candidates, Liberal Party bet Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Nacionalista Party standard bearer Sen. Manny Villar already have endorsements from celebrity personalities.

“I would not be surprised if celebrities will endorse him (Teodoro). We know the popular appeal and the power and credibility of celebrities to pull people,” Toledo added.

Aside from appearing on television commercials for candidates, actresses, actors and singers have become part of the campaign sorties of some politicians.

Toledo said if there is a restriction on showbiz people working for candidates, then it is about time to revisit it since this is simple discrimination against the entertainers who are just doing a job.

“I think it is something that should be questioned and revisited. You are also making a class distinction,” Toledo said.

“It’s a constitutional issue that can be raised, but of course, the determination would have to be done by the court,” he added.

The PPCRV averred that the Fair Election Act makes it mandatory for actors, columnists and other mass media personalities endorsing candidates to resign or take a leave from their TV shows or media outfits during the campaign period.

The Comelec added that it is prepared to compel media personalities who are campaigning for a politician to go on leave or their employers to sideline them for the duration of the campaign period.

Section 6 of the Fair Election Act or Republic Act No. 9006 provides that “any mass media columnist, commentator, announcer, reporter, on-air correspondent or personality who is a candidate for any elective public office or is a campaign volunteer for or employed or retained in any capacity by any candidate or political party shall be deemed resigned, if so required by their employer, or shall take a leave of absence from his/her work as such during the campaign period.”

Violation of the Fair Election Act is punishable by one to six years imprisonment.