Boring days on TV and elsewhere – all because there is a “campaign period” where no-nos apply

From February 9 (a few days ago) until May 8 this year, it looks like we will have to do without the likes of Kris Aquino, Kim Chiu, Dolphy, Gary V, or Lorna Tolentino from our TVs, as might be inferred from a news report.  Horrors!  All because there is this election law that says celebrities have a (perhaps tough) choice: Make money the usual way (by singing and dancing into the hearts and voter preferences of TV viewers), or promote/endorse a candidate for public office.

Are we there yet?

According to the Daily Tribune, Mr. Adel Tamano, speaking for candidate Senator Manny Villar, believes the law is an unconstitutional intrusion on the freedoms of celebrities.  Indeed, the Trib also reports that Mr. Villar said in an interview: “That is the right of the artists. They are also Filipinos as well as voters. They have the right to choose their candidates. Why are they being denied their right to choose and whom they want to endorse?”

But the economics of the matter is simple.  If the celebrity values his/her contract (even a volunteer one) with a political candidate more than his/her TV program, then it shouldn’t matter.  Economists call this utility maximization. Indeed, if a celebrity believes in the “cause” of his candidate, he should be willing to give up, temporarily, his favored mass media platform.  After all, he gets to work to get his favorite candidate elected.  That is (last I looked) an interesting aspect of democracy.  Otherwise, the celebrity can get paid twice: once, from the ad revenues of the TV network, and a second time from his favored candidate.

But what about the poor hapless TV viewers?  Their utility gets minimized!  Shame, shame, shame.

And we would have our Comelec officials to “blame” for the boring days ahead.  That is really something.  Mr. Willie Revillame or his fans should appeal.  Seriously.

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4 thoughts on “Boring days on TV and elsewhere – all because there is a “campaign period” where no-nos apply

  1. Why do we have to blame Comelec when they are just implementing the law? If you want to blame some party or institution, point the blame to those who wrote and passed the law, Congress. The funny thing about this whole controversy is the very people who wrote and passed the law are the very same people who are crying foul, unconstitutional! It’ll be interesting to see if they follow the law that they themselves wrote.

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    1. Maybe, just maybe, our good legislators didn’t read the law they enacted. Perhaps they were busy lining up celeb endorsers since that seems to be a sure-fire formula to get elected.

      The country has too many laws, many with “no teeth,” and some others that work the reverse of what was intended. For example, the land reform laws were supposed to raise agricultural productivity. Instead, they turned the exercise of leasehold into a form of big-stakes lottery if the land involved has great commercial potential. Interestingly, there are studies that suggest that those who win lotteries end up just as poor as before they won.

      I would like to see even just one congressional or senatorial candidate run on a platform of repealing bad laws and NOT enacting any new ones. Lawyers would have less work, but that would just be tough luck. No?

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  2. SHINING MOMENT UPDATE: The Comelec is “blameless” after all.

    Section 6.6 of the Fair Elections Act states that “any mass media columnist, commentator, announcer, reporter, on-air correspondent or personality who is a candidate for any elective public office or is a campaign volunteer for or employed or retained in any capacity by any candidate or political party shall be deemed resigned, if so required by their employer, or shall take a leave of absence from his/her work as such during the campaign period; provided, that any media practitioner who is an official of a political party or a member of the campaign staff of a candidate or political party shall not use his/her time or space to favor any candidate or political party.”

    This means that the Comelec has “simply interpreted” the law to mean that “if so required by their employer” also applies to “… shall take a leave of absence…”

    Dear readers, you may go read Sec. 6.6 again (and again and again, till the Black Angus come home) and see for your(truly)self if that’s what it says. Go figure.

    The only comparable moment is when the insurance salesman in the flick Groundhog Day asks “Am I right? Or am I right?”

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