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Absurd campaigning will turn off voters
Published on: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
By: GMA News
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INTENSE … the Eleksyon 2022 will be held on May 9, 2022.
MANILA: Candidates who will spend a lot on campaigning during Eleksyon 2022 could “turn off” voters, as this could be seen as “inappropriate” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a professor at the University of the Philippines’ Political Science Department said .

“This still remains a possibility this 2022 elections although too much spending and extravagance on the part of candidates in the time of a pandemic can turn off or rub some people the wrong way as being inappropriate and ‘exploiting’ the situation of the people,” said Professor Maria Ela Atienza.

“If we notice, since the pandemic, people are getting increasingly vocal in their criticisms about people holding government positions violating quarantine and health restrictions as well as too much display of wealth and extravagance and those who use COVID-related activities and assistance to promote certain personalities for political gain,” she further pointed out.

Meanwhile, Ronald Mendoza, dean of Ateneo School of Government, said there is “deep concern” that voters could be susceptible to social assistance that will be used by politicians to get their votes especially during pandemic.

“Our research on vote buying showed that politicians have built long relationships with voters so that it is difficult to disentangle the immediate activity of vote buying during or near elections from the traditional assistance that politicians typically provide to many of their constituents (and notably supporters),” he said.

“And during a pandemic and an economic downturn that saw millions lose their jobs and fall into poverty and hunger, there is deep concern that social assistance can be hijacked by politicians trying to curry favor with voters. Vote buying could also be more intense under such difficult economic conditions,” he further pointed out.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said premature campaigning is unfair, especially on those candidates who do not have the funds to start their campaign early as the Eleksyon 2022 will be held on May 9, 2022.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said candidates would admit to spending too much for campaigning but there is nothing that the poll body can do about it.

Jimenez earlier said that it is “absurd” that the current law only prohibits candidates from doing certain activities, including premature campaigning, once the official campaign period set by the Comelec has already started. 



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