CAMPAIGN BANNED TODAY AND TOMORROW
MANILA, April 8, 2004 (STAR) By Jose Aravilla - Candidates in the May 10 elections will have to restrain themselves from shaking hands and cuddling strangers’ babies for the next 48 hours starting today in line with a prohibition against campaigning during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
The prohibition is based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) calendar of activities as provided under resolutions 6420, 6420-A and 6617. The resolutions were promulgated on Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 this year.
Campaigning started last Feb. 10 for national candidates and on March 25 for local candidates. The campaign ends at midnight of May 8, or 24 hours before the May 10 synchronized elections.
But Comelec is known to have been helpless in enforcing numerous campaign restrictions, especially on the use of campaign materials.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla also cautioned priests against campaigning or engaging in partisan politics, as this is prohibited under the Catholic Church’s Canon Law 287.
"Bishops, priests, and religious (orders) are not allowed by law (to campaign) and the reason is a priest is supposed to be a center of unity in his parish especially when he is in the Church," said Capalla in an earlier interview. "But when he campaigns for one he divides the people."
But Capalla said this does not mean priests cannot talk about politics in general as it is "an obligation of any citizen and every Christian."
"Politics is the highest form of service that a citizen can give to his country so we have to talk about politics," he said.
The CBCP meanwhile advised the faithful that Pope John Paul II will deliver his Easter Sunday message at 4:30 p.m. The Mass is actually scheduled at 9:30 a.m. at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican but the country is seven hours ahead of Rome, global time.
The event will be aired live by a local television station.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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