Should the Official Gazette be used as a campaign platform?
MANILA, Philippines – The Facebook account of the Official Gazette received flak on Tuesday, October 7, when it posted photos featuring President Benigno Aquino III’s endorsement of Representative Leni Robredo as former Local Government secretary Mar Roxas’ running mate for the 2016 elections.
The President has endorsed Rep. Leni Robredo as the running-mate of former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas for the 2016...Posted by Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines on Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Aquino is the latest of the 4 presidents produced by the LP, one of the country’s oldest political parties. Netizens accused Aquino of using government resources to promote their own political agenda, since he is also the party's chairman.
It was created by decree of Act No. 453 and enacted by the Philippine Commission on September 2, 1902.
Its content, according to Commonwealth Act No. 638, should contain the following:
- All important legislative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the Congress of the Philippines;
- All executive and administrative orders and proclamations, except such that have no general applicability;
- Decisions or abstracts of decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as may be deemed by said courts of sufficient importance to be so published;
- Such documents or classes of documents as may be required so to be published by law; and
- Such documents or classes of documents as the President of the Philippines shall determine from time to time to have general applicability and legal effect, or which he may authorize so to be published
The controversial post in question does not fall under any of these descriptions.
The official Facebook account of the Gazette has 813,894 likes to date. It was launched in December 2010, during Aquino’s first year as President.
Maintained and managed by the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, the page should contain official announcements by the administration.
Prior to 2010, the Official Gazette appears solely in print form, sold weekly and distributed by the National Printing Office.
This is not the first time the Official Gazette posted photos featuring the activities led by the Liberal Party. On September 30, the Facebook account also posted photos of the LP’s joint national directorate and national executive council. In all these events, Aquino was present.
Ahead of the 2016 elections, one of which is foreseen to be heavily determined or influenced by social media, the post brings to light a relevant question: what should the Official Gazette post on its social media accounts?
To date, the post has received 160 comments from netizens – most of which are calls for it to be taken down.
“Even if the president is on that event, its unfair for other politician and other party, pro or anti administration. Or any Government owned website pls dont use it for politicial ads,” Frankie Arguillas Rapisora commented on the thread.
“Kung magpopost kayo ng pageendorso ng kandidato, dapat lahatin nyo hindi ung puro sa mga kaalyado lng ng presidente, ano ba to? Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines oh Official Gazette of Aquino Administration?” Sandy Cura asked.
(If you are going to post the endorsement of a candidate, you should’ve done it for those who are also not an ally of the president. What is this? Is this the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines or the Official Gazette of the Aquino Administration?)
Glorybelle Resurreccion, on the other hand, called for a little delicadeza (sense of propriety) from the administration. "Hindi ito ang tamang lugar sa mga mukha nilang nais nyong ibenta sa mamamayan. Konting delikadesa at hiya naman po sa official page ng pamahalaan. Hindi ito pagmamay-ari ng presidente higit ng partido liberal," Resurreccion added.
(This is not the right place to post those photos. We are asking for a little sense of propriety. This is not the ownership of the president nor of the Liberal Party.)
What are your thoughts on this post? Should the Facebook account take down its post? Share your thoughts on the comment section below or on Rappler X! - Rappler.com