It's barely three days since the campaign period for the May 2010 elections began, yet certain election-related issues have already caused a commotion among celebrities and TV personalities who are endorsing candidates.
Kris Aquino, the sister of presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino, was one of the first to tweet her sentiments about the most recent reminder of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Four hours ago, she posted: "The Comelec wants artists who are actively participating in the campaign to take a leave or be jailed. Since when has it been wrong to make a stand for what you believe? What is so wrong in wanting to take an active role in our democratic process?"
She was referring to a provision in the Fair Election Act or Republic Act 9006, which was enacted to "enhance the holding of free, orderly, honest, and credible elections through fair election practices."
Section 6.6 states: "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."
In line with this, TV giant GMA-7 issued a statement reminding all its talents to cease from campaigning for the candidates or political parties. It also prevents the election-related materials to feature celebrities even if they were shot before the campaign period. Below is the Kapuso network's directive:
"GMA Network is advising its talents that they have to take a leave of absence if they continue to campaign for or endorse candidates or political parties during the campaign period, even if the taping of their participation in the promotion or plug of the candidate was done before the campaign period.
"GMA Network's talents, who appeared in political ads or advocacy plugs before February 9, are advised to notify the candidates concerned or those responsible for placing these political plugs not to air them during the campaign period."