THE Filipino people, particularly the electorate, have to face the realities of what’s really happening in various parts of the country as the May 13 off season election approaches.
No less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte has acknowledged that some local government officials refuse to grant permits for political rallies to their political opponents.
Of course, this is in violation of Section 87 of Batas Pambansa 88l, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, where elections are held every three years.
BP 881 provides that any political party may hold peaceful political rallies, meetings and other similar activities during the campaign period, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
In a resolution, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) also acknowledged the right of candidates to be given equal and fair opportunity to conduct public political rallies or meetings.
BP 881 provides that application for permits must be acknowledged in writing, posted in conspicious places in the city or municipal building, and acted upon in writing within three days after its filing.
Any application not acted upon within said period shall be deemed approved by the authorities concerned.
Since election is “democracy in action,” local government authorities must be fair. “Let us not deprive voters the chance to know their candidates for them to decide whom to vote for,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.
Año, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told incumbent local officials to just present their programs of action and let the voters make intelligent choices.
Certainly, the country’s voters are already politically mature. Alam na alam na nila kung sinu-sino ang mga dapat mamuno sa kanila.