This is a response to the mounting questions as to why Senator Noynoy Aquino did not participate on the second half of “Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot,” which will air on November 29.
Senators Aquino and Roxas will be filing their certificates of candidacy on November 28, and the decision to do so was made as early as the first week of November.
According to the Omnibus Election Code, and in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Penera vs. Commission of Elections, after the certificate of candidacy has been filed (Nov 28 in the case of Senators Aquino and Roxas), candidates may not participate in election-related events until February 9, 2010, for those vying for national positions
Section 80 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits any person from engaging in election campaign and partisan political activity outside the campaign period. Under 79 of the OEC, election campaign and partisan political activity refers to any act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate to a public office, which includes:
“Holding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate;
This provision of law has been expanded by the Supreme Court in the recent case of Penera vs. Comelec, G. R. No. 181613, September 11, 2009, where the Court ruled that “the conduct of a motorcade is a form of election campaign or partisan political activity, falling squarely within the ambit of Section 79(b)(2) of the Omnibus Election Code, on “[h]olding political caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades, or other similar assemblies, for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate.”
If a mere motorcade as in the case of Penera was considered a form of premature campaigning, then appearing on a televised program such as “Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot” where known presidentiables are invited to answer policy questions that may touch on their respective platform of governments, will be certainly be considered as engaging in an act designed to promote one’s candidacy.
Based on the advice of his legal team, Senator Aquino declined to participate in the second half of “Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot,” which will be aired the day after he files for candidacy, on November 29.
An agreement between the broadcast network and the Senator’s office had already been reached on this understanding prior to taping.
The other candidates in the said program will be presumably be filing for candidacy AFTER November 29, as the deadline has been moved to December 1.
We hope this clarifies any misgivings. ~Ed.
Some have been asking, why not just move the date? Good question. Here’s the answer:
(1) The Nov 28 filing date was chosen and confirmed before the invitation to join Isang Tanong Isang Sagot reached the Senator’s desk.
(2) It was also chosen, on a more personal note, because it is the day after Ninoy’s birthday. (You might ask, why not Ninoy’s birthday itself? Well, because there are a lot of events to celebrate Ninoy Day and Sen Aquino wanted to celebrate it freely with the people, without legal constraints).
(3) Also traditionally, major political parties choose separate dates to file, so it can be “their day” with their supporters, and no confusion. That gives only 2 days for an invariably more number of presidentiables to file AFTER “Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot.”