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2 bets accuse military of electioneering
Nation
Written by Fernan Marasigan / Reporter
Tuesday, 13 April 2010 22:12
TWO militant legislators seeking Senate seats accused the Armed Forces on Monday of engaging in partisan politics by campaigning against them.

Party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna  is asking the Commission on Elections to look into the alleged military operation codenamed “Zero Campaign” against him and Party-list Rep. Liza Maza of Gabriela. Both are senatorial guest candidates of Nacionalista Party of Sen. Manuel Villar.

“Members of the Armed Forces is violating a host of laws, including provisions in the Constitution, by their partisan activities. Soldiers have been photographed and documented to be actively campaigning against progressive party-list groups and senatorial candidates,” Ocampo said.

He said in Davao, Agusan del Norte and surrounding provinces, the National Police and the Armed Forces are claiming that the massive deployment of troops is meant “to ensure peace and order during the elections,” but reports revealed that the police and the military are conducting house-to-house campaigning against him and Maza.

“The military troops are also flagrantly distributing black-propaganda materials against us such as fliers and miniposters. They are also calling for mass meetings on a weekly basis where we are specifically being named as those who should not be voted for,” Ocampo said.

He said the Constitution expressly prohibits civil-service officers and employees from engaging in any electioneering or partisan political activity. Section 2 (4), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution provides: No officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political activity.

He also said the civil-service laws, as well as the Omnibus Election Code, have provisions banning government personnel from involvement in partisan political activities.

“The operation is called ‘Zero Campaign’ which clearly means that the Armed Forces is plotting to ensure that we get zero votes in the provinces. Among the areas where the Zero Campaign is already being implemented are Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and some parts of Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Agusan del Sur,” Ocampo said.

He said the attempts of the military to demonize him and undermine his chances to win in the senatorial elections were not surprising.

“But we will not take this sitting down. We will work hard to frustrate these military operations that aim to stop progressive candidates from winning in the polls. In the meantime, the Comelec should take immediate action and initiate sanctions against the Armed Forces,” he said.

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