By Lynda Jumilla and RG Cruz
ABS-CBN Online News
This prompted Santiago to write to Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chair, Jose Melo to ask the poll body to stop the advertisements and endorsements and call it illegal.
"That is what they should do now so that we can stop all this pretense that they are not campaigning but they’re already inflicting pain and boredom on the TV and radio audiences by campaigning so early… Some of them just do not deserve to inflict their faces on the TV audience," said Santiago.
Santiago also junked the argument of some of her colleagues that the ads are not campaign materials since they are not candidates, and have not filed any certificates of candidacy.
Santiago also frowned on the argument that some political leaders are only trying to make a living from the ads.
"Give me a break! A senator’s total remuneration that is to say total income in addition to his very basic salary which I think is only about P45,000 is more than handsome. So they cannot claim that they are indigent or that they need to raise money," said Santiago.
Sen. Loren Legarda said she is willing to follow if she is barred from making any endorsements. Legarda is currently endorsing a whitening supplement.
Legarda said however that the focus should be on politicians who appears on ads using government money and cited her rival, Vice President Noli de Castro who has ads about his projects of his agency, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
"’Yan ang maliwanag. Daan-daang milyong piso ang ginagastos… Ilang milyong bahay na sana ang natustusan ng TV ads na ‘yan," said Legarda.
Senate President Manuel Villar for his part is unfazed as he said it is his crusade to make life better for Filipinos overseas.
"Ewan ko kung sino apektado doon. Siyempre kung sino apektado siya ang mamumrublema doon. Ako naman hindi ako nakikitang apektado," said Villar.
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Read also, "On premature campaigning through commercial advertisements", by Senator Santiago.
It's so disgusting and unbelievable that even some good-standing senators who are planning to run for president/vice-president in the next election are indulging in the exploitation of the loopholes in our election law concerning political advertisement.
Corruption has a component of this type of negative trait. It stems from the mindset of "impunity by legalism". Because even if they know that the act is improper, but since it is not covered by any law, they do it nevertheless.
When will we change? How long will our politicians continue doing this improper act. When will our advertisers stop conniving with these "mapagsamantalang mga plotiko"?
Maybe the reason why these senators are not crafting bills that could plug the loopholes in our election law concerning political advertisement is because of conflict of interest.
What they are doing tells something about their character -- mapagsamantala! What they have done creates a negative impression on the minds of many people. They practice what they condemn and thus they set a bad example especially to the young minds.
They are shaming themselves because of this. "Parang kumuha [sila] ng bato at ipinokpok sa [kanilang] sariling ulo." - Dolphy