One of the most observable phenomenon in this post-Ondoy and pre-Christmas season is the proliferation of ads, banners, flyers, and any and all ads of would-be candidates. The latter range from the presidential wannabees down to the littlest councilor wannabees. If you still don’t know it, we are already in the midst of the 2010 election campaign period.
To be sure, according to the Commission on Elections, the 2010 elections are not yet here, not even the filing of certificates of candidacy (the deadline is still to come on December 1, 2009). The official election period will start on January 10, 2010; that of the official campaign period for presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial and party-list candidates is on February 9, 2010, and that for the district representatives and local candidates is on March 26, 2010.
Yet, we are already witness to a “non-campaign” campaigning by virtually all the prospective candidates. One of the reasons, of course, is the recent Supreme Court ruling defining as pre-campaigning (and thus subject to penalties for election violation) any promotion of, for and in behalf of a candidate who filed his or her candidacy during the period starting on December 2, 2009 until February 8, 2010.
Another is that the early deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy inevitably led to the early decision to run or not to run, to coalesce or not to coalesce, to make up the slate for co-candidates, or to otherwise prepare for elections. Preparations requiring the input of the public perception of a candidate (such as campaign contribution, alliance-making, or media planning) had to be done in a hurry and in the quickest time possible. Name-recall is the name of the game this early.
And so, we have these infomercials, birthday greetings, advance christmas greetings, provincial sorties and other trappings of a full-blown political campaign. At the level of the presidential contest, this is a doubly urgent necessity because of the way surveys are showing the strength of the Noynoy Aquino presidential bid. BCA3 has to be cut down to the level of a “normal” candidate and his momentum drastically brought to a halt.
Whatever, my two-cents opinion is that all of these activities constitute pre-campaigning. Meaning, these should be banned and punished for undermining the constitutional mandate for a free and fair 2010 elections.