TANZA, Cavite - Master the art of entertaining people.
This was the advice of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to fellow politicians Friday after the Commission on Elections reminded celebrity endorsers to resign or go on leave from their shows while campaigning for chosen candidates running in the May 10 elections.
“Candidates should also learn to show their own personalities and disallow others from representing them because their message will be drowned out.” said Santiago, who is seeking Senate reelection by being a guest candidate of almost all parties participating in this year’s elections.
She recalled that in the 1992 presidential campaign, “I was also the entertainer, candidate, wrestler, singer and dancer.”
“In 1992, I had no money but I ran for president and I think I won that race.” she said.
Defensor believes she was robbed off the presidency during the 1992 polls, which former President Ramos – the winner – has denied.
On Thursday, Ferdinand Rafanan, director of the Comelec Law Department, said that under Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Act clearly, actors are prohibited from making appearances once they endorse or volunteer for a candidate during the campaign period. [See: Comelec: Celebrity endorsers should go on leave]
Santiago, who went along the Nacionalista Party’s mini rally here, agreed with the implementation of the resolution, saying it upholds the power of the state “to regulate society, to limit freedoms and liberties in order to promote the greater good.”
A former trial judge, Santiago believes the implementation of the law would level the playing field among candidates, a statement which contradicted the stand of NP standard bearer, Senator Manuel Villar Jr.
She also believes that the qualification of candidates, rather than the celebrities endorsing them, should be the focus in every political campaign.
“Nowadays, elections are all about who has the most popular endorser. No one talks about candidates anymore. If that’s the case, then why don’t we vote for the endorsers instead? Moreover, issues during elections are muddled,” Santiago told reporters.
As if on cue, the NP mini rally featured no celebrity endorsers, unlike its campaign last Tuesday in Laguna.
As a result, entertainment was provided by Senator Loren Legarda, vice presidential bet of both Villar’s party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (Legarda’s party) and senatorial candidate Adel Tamano.
Legarda sang the Carpenters’ “I Won’t Last a Day Without You” while Tamano rendered “Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang,” the same song he sang during the NP kickoff rally in Laguna along with a female resident there.
Tamano is not in favor of the Comelec restriction, saying he will file a petition before the Supreme Court next week to declare the same unconstitutional.
“If an ordinary Filipino has the right to express his/her preferences for a candidate, why should the Comelec disallow celebrities from doing the same?,” je asked. - GMANew. TV