Touch me not
By Al S. Mendoza
CEBU CITY—I am here in the so-called Queen City of the South.
But what caught my attention is not found in this heart of Cebuano Country but in Ilonggo Country instead.
It is in two tarpaulins titled, “TEAM BUHAY, TEAM PATAY.”
I saw them on page one of a major daily.
They hang at the wall of the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City.
The Comelec there said the two tarpaulins might not be in compliance with Comelec rules on campaign material sizes. They should be torn down.
But the tarpaulin owners wouldn’t budge and elected to fight the Comelec in the courts—should the Comelec prove stubborn.
I side with the tarpaulin team against Comelec for the simple reason that the tarpaulins are not campaign materials.
Either contains the words, “Vote for Juan dela Cruz.”
The first tarpaulin, color red, says, “Conscience Vote.” Below it is written (Anti-RH) and, in all capital letters, “TEAM BUHAY,” followed by the sign check.
Listed under it were the names: Estrada JV, Honasan Gregorio, Magsaysay Mitos, Pimentel Koko, Trillanes Antonio and Villar Cynthia. All are running for senator in the May 13 elections.
Under the red tarpaulin is the second tarpaulin, color black, containing, among others, the words: (PRO-RH), “TEAM PATAY” and the names: Angara Juan Edgardo, Casino Teddy, Cayetano Alan Peter, Enrile Jackie, Escudero Francis, Hontiveros Risa, Legarda Loren. All are running for senator in the May 13 elections.
It seems apparent: The tarpaulin maker/s are pitting “TEAM PATAY” (those who voted for the RH Bill) versus “TEAM BUHAY” (anti-RH Bill).
The tarpaulins’ message seems run this way, “You don’t vote for “TEAM PATAY” advocates but you vote for “TEAM BUHAY” adherents.
To me, the Comelec trying to make an issue out of the two tarpaulins is being petty, if not downright crazy?
I say, the Comelec must concentrate instead on the candidates’ actuations, not with the people’s actuations towards their candidates.
This is a free country and, therefore, censorship is dead.
Since the tarpaulins hang on the wall of a church, they should be untouchable, to say the least.
There are no incendiary words on the tarpaulin, no rebellious tunes, no call to arms as to overthrow the government—or even statements that vilify the Comelec.
In short, touch not the tarpaulins. Freedom of expression is the heart and soul of democracy.