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    Women local leaders join Leni-Kiko camp in protesting Oplan Baklas

    Women local leaders join Leni-Kiko camp in protesting Oplan Baklas

    Echoing the objections raised by the Leni-Kiko campaign on the “Operation Baklas” of the Commission on Election’s (COMELEC), members of the Pinunong Pinay Power or PPP declared their opposition to the poll body’s continued removal of campaign materials put up by citizens on their private properties.

    PPP is a broad-based organization of duly-elected local government officials from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

    Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro called the campaign “an attack on our free speech and property rights.” She added that the brazen violations in carrying out Operation Baklas intimidate citizens into surrendering their rights. She stressed that COMELEC’s powers are limited to leveling off the playing field for candidates and political parties, not private citizens thus should immediately cease these unconstitutional acts.

    Naga City Vice Mayor Cecilia De Asis said that the COMELEC was brushing aside the citizens’ rights to express political opinions. At the same time, she called for a united effort to stop the COMELEC’s drive.

    Zambales Board Member Carolyn Senador-Fariñas, who is running for mayor in San Felipe, Zambales, explained that Operation Baklas contradicts the COMELEC’s mandate to ensure peaceful and free elections. She added that free discussion of issues and the candidates and their platforms are part of democracy.

    Tuguegarao City Councilor Marjorie Martin said: “We recognize the power of COMELEC to regulate elections and to ensure that no one, especially those who have the power, money and influence, takes advantage of our electoral process. But such power does not involve the intrusion on private property and most especially the violation of every Filipino’s freedom.”

    Martin said the indiscriminate removal of posters and painting over murals on private property “without due process of the law is clearly illegal and uncalled for.”

    “We call on the COMELEC, the Philippine National Police and other members of the Baklas Team to perform their tasks in accordance to law and respect of a Filipinos right to freedom of speech and expression,” she said.

    For Virac, Catanduanes Vice-Mayor Arlynn Arcilla, Operation Baklas is a clear violation of the people’s freedoms of expression and privacy. She added that it was clear that the COMELEC’s actions have no basis in law. She assured her constituents that they can rely on her administration to ensure that these violations will not happen in their municipality.

    Last week, the Robredo campaign team held a press conference where election lawyer Romulo Macalintal described Operation Baklas as a “very arbitrary act of the COMELEC because said persons were never given the chance to be heard which violated their procedural right to due process, when said campaign materials were removed without any hearing.”

    Robredo’s spokesperson, Atty. Barry Gutierrez, also raised the possibility of a case being filed.

    “Kung kinakailangan, pinag-aaralan sa kasalukuyan kung posibleng mag-file ng karapat-dapat na kaso para maging mas klaro iyong rule dito sa isyung ito,” Gutierrez said.

    After the initial backlash, COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez had said that the election commissioners are looking into the issue and that the body has modified its rules in the past. [End]

     

     

    Mga kababaihang local leaders naki-ayon sa kampo ni Leni-Kiko sa pagprotesta sa “Oplan Baklas”

    Katulad ng pagtutol ng Leni-Kiko tandem sa “Operation Baklas” ng Commission on Elections (COMELEC), ang mga miyembro ng Pinunong Pinay Power o PPP ay nagdeklara rin ng kanilang pagkontra sa patuloy na pagtanggal ng komisyon sa mga campaign materials na nakakabit sa mga pribadong lugar.

    Ang PPP ay isang malaking organisasyon ng mga hinalal na lokal na opisyal ng gobyerno mula sa Luzon, Visayas, at Mindanao.

    Tinawag ni Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro na isang pag-atake sa free speech at property rights ang naturang kampanya ng COMELEC. Dagdag niya na ang mga paglabag sa pagpapatupad ng Operation Baklas ay nagbibigay takot sa mga mamamayan at isuko ang kanilang mga karapatan. Binigyang-diin niya na ang kapangyarihan ng COMELEC ay limitado sa pagpapantay ng playing field para sa mga kandidato at partidong pampulitika, hindi ang mga pribadong mamamayan kaya dapat na agad na itigil ang paglabag sa Konstitusyon na ito.

    Sinabi ni Naga City Vice Mayor Cecilia De Asis na pinapawalang bahala ng COMELEC ang karapatan ng bawat mamamayan na ipahayag ang kanilang opinyong politikal. Kasabay nito, nanawagan din siya ng nagkakaisang pagsisikap upang ipatigil ang kampanya ng COMELEC.

    Ipinaliwanag naman ni Zambales Board Member Carolyn Senador-Fariñas, na tumatakbo bilang Mayor ng San Felipe, Zambales, na ang Operation Baklas ay sumasalungat sa mandato ng COMELEC na siguraduhin ang isang mapayapa at malayang eleksyon. Dagdag niya na ang pagtalakay ng mga isyu, ng mga kandidato at kanilang plataporma ay bahagi ng demokrasya.

    Sinabi ni Konsehal Marjorie Martin ng Lungsod ng Tuguegarao: “We recognize the power of COMELEC to regulate elections and to ensure that no one, especially those who have the power, money and influence, takes advantage of our electoral process. But such power does not involve the intrusion on private property and most especially the violation of every Filipino’s freedom.”

    Dagdag ni Martin, ang walang habas na pag-alis ng mga poster at pagpipinta sa mga mural sa pribadong pag-aari, kung walang angkop na proseso ng batas, ay malinaw na labag sa batas at hindi nararapat.

    “We call on the COMELEC, the Philippine National Police and other members of the Baklas Team to perform their tasks in accordance to law and respect of a Filipinos right to freedom of speech and expression,” saad niya.

    Para kay Virac, Catanduanes Vice-Mayor Arlynn Arcilla, ang Operation Baklas ay isang malinaw na paglabag sa kalayaan sa pagpapahayag at privacy ng mga tao. Dagdag pa niya, malinaw na walang basehan sa batas ang mga aksyon ng COMELEC. Tiniyak niya sa kanyang mga nasasakupan na maaari silang umasa sa kanyang administrasyon upang matiyak na ang mga paglabag na ito ay hindi mangyayari sa kanilang munisipyo.

    Noong nakaraang linggo, nagsagawa ng press conference ang Robredo campaign team kung saan inilarawan ni election lawyer Romulo Macalintal ang Operation Baklas bilang isang hindi makatwiran na aksyon ng COMELEC. Ito ay dahil hindi kailanman nabigyan ng pagkakataong marinig ang panig ng mga indibidwal at naging paglabag ito sa kanilang right to due process, ayon kay Macalintal.

    Para naman sa tagapagsalita ni Robredo na si Atty. Barry Gutierrez, pinag-aaralan pa ang posibilidad na magsampa ng kaso laban sa COMELEC.

    “Kung kinakailangan, pinag-aaralan sa kasalukuyan kung posibleng mag-file ng karapat-dapat na kaso para maging mas klaro iyong rule dito sa isyung ito,” ayon Gutierrez.

    Matapos ang pagtutol ng ilang grupo, sinabi ni COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez na pinagaaralan ng mga election commissioner ang isyu at posible naman magbago ang patakaran tulad ng nangyari sa mga nagdaang eleksyon. [End]

    Posted in Press Releases on Feb 21, 2022