By Raymund Antonio
Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who is a senatorial aspirant, has only until February 11 or after the campaign period on May 11 to have his movie about his life story shown in cinemas.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal echoed the statement of the Commission on Elections that it will be an election offense if Dela Rosa’s movie will be played in theaters during the campaign period.
“Wala tayong nakikitang problema sa pelikula ng mga kandidato basta ipalalabas ito bago magsimula ang campaign period sa Feb. 12 (We see no problem in the movie of candidates as long as it will be shown before the campaign period starts on February 12),” said Macalintal, 71, who is running as independent candidate as part of the opposition coalition.
The film about the police official’s life, titled “Bato: The Gen. Ronald dela Rosa Story,” is slated for release this year. Action star Robin Padilla will play the role of Dela Rosa in the movie.
Based on Republic Act No. 9006 or the “Fair Elections Act,” no movie, cinematography or documentary portraying the life or biography of a candidate shall be publicly exhibited in a theater, television station, or any public forum during the campaign period.
Violation of the prohibition shall be considered as an election offense, which carries the penalty of one to six years imprisonment, disqualification to hold public office, and removal of their right of suffrage.
Macalintal has been advocating for campaign finance reforms, including requiring candidates to report their expenses from the time of filing of candidacy until the end of campaign.
“Matagal ko nang pinapanukala na dapat itala na ang gastos ng isang kandidato sa oras na nag-file ng certificate of candidacy para mabantayan ang kanilang gastos (It has been my longtime proposal that the expenses of a candidate should be listed down during the time of filing of certificate of candidates to monitor their expenses),” said Macalintal.
This, according to Macalintal, will serve as means to avoid premature campaigning, which gives moneyed candidates advantage over those who have limited resources.
“In this way, seasoned politicians and new candidates will have a fair fight,” he said in Filipino.