Campaigning during office hours disrupts gov’t service

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo, Jhunnex Napallacan, Nestle L. Semilla March 28,2016 - 10:45 PM
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Reelectionist Michael Rama makes a campaign stunt after the flag-raising ceremony in front of the Cebu City Hall, after which he continued with handshaking of City Hall employees. (CDN PHOTO / NESTLE SEMILLA)

Incumbent officials running for reelection in the May 9 elections should not campaign during office hours, the regional Civil Service Commission (CSC) said yesterday.

Prolaine Daclan, chief of the CSC’s Public Assistance and Liaison Division of the Civil Service Commission in Region 7, said this as local candidates kicked off their campaign yesterday.

At Cebu City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama introduced his entire slate after the flag ceremony and the candidates campaigned at the city government offices.

While citing Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for public officials and employees to reiterate her position on the issue, Daclan refused to elaborate on Team Rama’s action.

While admitting that she is unaware of any law that prohibits campaigning in government offices, Daclan said anyone can file a complaint at their office on the City Hall case.

Daclan said it’s better to ask the Commission on Elections (Comelec) about it since they impose campaign guidelines on candidates.

She said the CSC can come in if the political campaign disrupts the operation of a certain government office. “We must remember that during office hours, we are paid to perform our function,” Daclan said.

Daclan also reminded other government officials and employees to remain neutral during the campaign period in adherence to RA 6713. She said it’s even risky for city government employees to attend political rallies since they can be accused of bias.

Daclan said it’s not also allowed for a government official or employee to post political streamers in her house. She also warned employees not to even post partisan comments through their social media accounts like Facebook.

“So if we have to post, let’s be very careful because that could already be interpreted that we are campaigning for or against somebody,” she said.

Both Team Rama and the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) attended Masses prior to kicking off their campaigns. Rama and his slate attended a dawn Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral before joining the flag ceremony at City Hall.

Rama introduced his slate to city government employees and spoke about his two-month suspension and his family’s political legacy.

“I’m taking my strength from the blood of Don Vicente Rama and if and when I am what I am, you get what you see, you see what you get. The Rama family’s political legacy is one of honesty still being the best policy,” he said.

The BO-PK slate of former Mayor Tomas Osmeña attended Mass at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church before heading to Andres Soriano Extension at the back of the Guadalupe barangay hall where they launched their campaign.

Heavy traffic ensued at the area as buses unloaded supporters clad in the BO-PK party colored shirts of yellow and blue. In a speech, Osmeña said he will expand the South Road Properties (SRP) if city residents voted straight for him and his slate.

Today, roads will be closed at the Legaspi Extension to M.J. Cuenco Avenue fronting Plaza Indepedencia from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. for the Team Rama-United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) executive director Rey Gealon said Team Rama south district council candidate Jocelyn Pesquera applied for a permit for today’s rally.

CCTO advised the public to take alternative routes or be home from work early to beat the road closure. At the Capitol, the Provincial Board canceled its regular session after they failed to reach a quorum yesterday.

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