June 21, 2024

■  Rimaliza A. Opiña 

The legality of the proposed ordinance banning the posting of politicians’ and private individuals’ faces in private properties and vehicles might be violating the rights of owners to their property, according to some members of the city council.

The proposed ordinance, which seeks to complement the city’s Anti-Epal Ordinance by extending the ban on private properties and even vehicles, aims to deter politicians or potential candidates from using even ordinary events to advertise themselves prior to the declaration of the official campaign period by the Commission on Elections.

The proposal also aims to lessen garbage from posters used by politicians and would-be candidates, said proponent Councilor Fred Bagbagen.

Bagbagen said in other local government units, politicians or would-be politicians plaster their faces anywhere by having posters containing mundane messages in every occasion or event they can think of.

“It’s really ugly,” Bagbagen said of these posters reason why he wants the ban to extend even in private estate and vehicles.

The proposed fines for violation is P5,000 plus one month suspension or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days upon the court’s discretion for politicians; and P3,000 fine and imprisonment not exceeding 30 days for private individuals.

The proposal however needs polishing as implementation might be difficult.

Councilor Elmer Datuin said the proposal might be violating the Bill of Rights as the prohibition is tantamount to the State infringing on a person’s right to his private property.

Datuin said the Anti-Epal Ordinance is enough to address the concerns of Bagbagen.

For Councilor Peter Fianza, it is difficult to implement the ordinance especially on vehicles that are only “passing through” Baguio.

For public utility vehicles such as buses, the councilor said posting of faces of politicians on the vehicle might be covered by a contract entered into by their management.

He added individual donors of vehicles such as those used for patient transport cannot also be prohibited from posting their faces on these vehicles.

The city council deferred taking action on the proposal, which is now on second reading after publication, pending refinement.

Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan said the proposal deserves a second glance as it can be adopted as one of the best practices in Baguio.