The SCE still has jurisdiction over electronic form of election propaganda

One of the most novel and equally controversial provisions of the Revised Student Election Code of DLSU-D is the provision concerning electronic forms of election propaganda.

Background

Yours truly was part of the body that assembled to revise the old Student Election Code of DLSU-D back in 2008. Considering my background in social media publishing, aka I’m a blogger, and my previous experience in being Chair of the 2007 Students’ Constitutional Convention that drafted the 2008 USC Constitution, the body appointed me to draft the provisions concerning electronic forms of propaganda.

When we say electronic form of election propaganda we mean campaigning done through SMS, the Internet – in particular social media, video, audio and any other means of electronic communication.

As early as the 2007 elections, political parties were already using SMS, aka group messages to campaign for their candidates during elections. Back then, there were no provisions in the old E-Code about this method or other electronic campaign propaganda, however, the SCE still allowed it given that the campaign messages did not contain defamatory/libelous content against any political party and/or candidate.

As time went on, social media like Multiply.com which was still famous back then, were also used as election propaganda. Other political parties started putting up websites of their own. Again, up until the 2008 Revised E-Code, there were no provisions about the electronic election propaganda, yet they were still allowed and that the contents conformed to the relevant provisions of the E-Code. In addition to content, such electronic campaign propaganda were only used, published and utilized during the campaign period. Outside of the campaign period, they were strictly prohibited.

This was the experience and practice that became the norm up until the 2008 Revised E-Code was drafted, ratified and took effect beginning the 2009 USC and CSC elections.

So when we considered the provisions about the electronic form of election propaganda, we realized that it was impractical and impossible for the SCE to fully regulate it in the manner it can regulate non-electronic forms like tarpaulins, fliers, leaflets, posters, pins, shirts, etc. Simply because electronic election propaganda were intangible and resided only the vast expanse of the Internet and electronic gadgets while the non-electronic election propaganda were physically tangible and were only used inside the campus well within the literal jurisdiction of the SCE.

However, the body also understood that we cannot stop the march of progress and the creativity of the political parties – electronic forms of election propaganda is the way to go.

Compromise: Continue from historical experience and practice

So the compromise was that the SCE gave up jurisdiction over electronic forms of election propaganda in terms of the quantity, dimensions and the locations where they can be posted. However, the contents or substance and timeliness of its usage remained under the jurisdiction of the SCE as was the practice back in 2007.

Political parties and candidates were free to use any forms of electronic election propaganda be it SMS, social media, dedicated websites, videos, cover photos, profile photos, infographics etc. as long as the contents conformed to the applicable provisions of the E-code that regulated content:

Section 50. Prohibited Forms of Campaign Paraphernalia/Propaganda. Any
campaign paraphernalia/propaganda shall be unlawful if it:
Xxx xxx xxx
b. Contains the Course of the candidate.
c. Contains defamatory/libellous content against any political
party and/or candidate.
d. Involves the use of logo/name of any outside organization/
individual that has not been a donor of the political party and/
or candidate.

Aside from the content, the timeliness of using electronic election propaganda is also regulated by the E-code, that such campaigning is prohibited outside the campaign period.

A perfect sample case or precedent was the case of SENTRO vs SINAG, 2007-2008 elections wherein a campaign manager of SINAG political party was caught campaigning on election day itself using group SMS. SINAG was disqualified not for using SMS, but for campaigning during election days.

Provisions of the E-Code must be interpreted in harmony, not in conflict

Now, there is a serious misconception that since there is Section 47, f. that says:

The SCE shall have no jurisdiction over electronic form of election propaganda

It means that political parties and candidates have absolute freedom with electronic election propaganda. This is wrong. This is the wrong way of interpreting the E-Code because if this was correct, there would be a conflict with Section 50, c. of the E-Code which prohibits campaign propaganda that is defamatory/libelous. In legal practice, the Supreme Court explains why provisions of a law or code must not be taken against the other provisions, instead it should be interpreted and implemented in harmony with other provisions that express the intention of the authors of the law or its spirit.

The rule is that a a code is enacted as a single, comprehensive statute, and is to be considered as such and not as a series of disconnected articles or provisions. (Baking v. Director of Prisons)

Thus Section 47, f and Section 50 can stand side by side and not in opposition to one another. That parties and candidates can use any form of electronic election propaganda and regardless of its quantities as long as the contents do not contain defamatory or libelous content nor the courses of the candidates it bears and that such electronic campaign propaganda be used only during the campaign period.

A parallel case would be SWAFO’s past investigation in the blind-item pages in Facebook where students are sharing/posting their “secret stories” about life as a student in DLSU-D. The student handbook does not prohibit students about creating social media accounts, but if such accounts are being used to post content that are malicious or libelous against any member of the academic community, school administrators are authorized to investigate and if proven, discipline erring students.

It should be now clear to all students, specially the political parties, their candidates and the Student Commission on Elections that the use of electronic election propaganda are still subject to the provisions of the Student Election Code.

Android One launches in the Philippines

It has finally come! Google launched today the Android One program in the Philippines. Android One is Google’s initiative to make great smartphones affordable for many specially in developing countries. Those smartphones would come with decent hardware and the newest version of Android close to owning a Nexus device.

Caesar Sengupta, Google Vice President of Product Management has revealed that local smartphone makers Cherry Mobile and MyPhone will be releasing the Cherry Mobile One and MyPhone Uno, respectively, as part of the Android One program:

the Cherry One and MyPhone Uno — will go on sale in the coming weeks, offering affordable phones with the latest version of Android (Lollipop), the fastest, most responsive Android experience ever.

Lollipop includes a battery saver feature, Google’s new material design look and feel and quick settings to conserve data. And these phones have great hardware features, including front- and rear-facing cameras, dual SIM slots and a microSD card slot for additional storage.

The phones would also come with free Over-the-Air (OTA) updates via Smart and Sun for the first six months so that users would always be updated with the latest apps and Android updates.

I’m pretty sure the Android One program will be a hit in the Philippines, I even look forward to more phones that will be part of this program.

Pope Francis: Commit to Social Justice

Pundits are saying that the President and other officials of the government was lucky when Pope Francis decided to go impromptu on his homily for the mass he celebrated in Leyte – where super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) did the worst damage when it ravaged the country a little over a year ago – and put aside his prepared speech as it contained passages that fly into the face of the ineffective and short-sighted efforts of the government.

I couldn’t agree more. Just read the most powerful portions of the said speech and I’m certain Aquino and his horde are sh*tt*ng bricks:

Above all, I ask that the poor throughout this country be treated fairly – that their dignity be respected, that political and economic policies be just and inclusive, that opportunities for employment and education be developed, and that obstacles to the delivery of social services be removed. Our treatment of the poor is the criterion on which each of us will be judged (cf. Mt 25:40, 45). I ask all of you, and all responsible for the good of society, to renew your commitment to social justice and the betterment of the poor, both here and in the Philippines as a whole.

This plus how local media has focused its reporting on the trivial things about Pope Francis – his charisma, his signature smile and his sense of humor – instead of his words on certain issues like corruption, justice, development, morals etc.

How I wish Pope Francis himself would deliver this speech with BS Aquino and other government officials in the audience before he goes back to Rome.

Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

Our lack of physical activities triggers gene for obesity

We may bask in the glory of modern technology today – smartphones, apps, the Internet and how these advances have made life easier by a just a few clicks and taps. However, this led to a more sedentary lifestyle (couch potatos, *ehem *ehem) than generations before, how many children nowadays go out and actually play with other kids?

Carl Zimmer writes for The New York Times about several scientific studies have shown that our less-physically strenuous way of life today has triggered a gene that causes obesity:

People born before the early 1940s were not at additional risk of putting on weight if they had the risky variant of FTO. Only subjects born in later years had a greater risk. And the more recently they were born, the scientists found, the greater the gene’s effect.

Some change in the way people lived in the late 20th century may have transformed FTO into a gene with a big impact on the risk of obesity, the researchers theorized. Giles S.H. Yeo, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge who wasn’t involved in the study, said he suspected that physical activity had something to do with the change.

It is possible that before World War II, people were so physically active that they were shielded from FTO’s obesity risks. As people became sedentary, they lost that protection and the gene emerged as a danger.

So it’s alright to hit the gym or simply get up and move about. Specially if you have the FTO gene.

In my case, I could use a little help from that gene as I need to put on more weight.

Kay Hirap Sundan by Grupong Pendong

Kay hirap sundan ang katulad mo
Di ko malaman ang gagawin ko
Ang tanong mo sa akin, gano kita kamahal
Ang pag-ibig ko’y iyong tinimbang

Nang sinabi mong patunayan ko
Sa aking buhay, sa aking puso
At ako nama’y di nag alinlangan
Ngunit damdamin mo’y para bang pumanaw

Ngayon nasaan ang iyong kandungan?
Yakap koy hangin sa kadiliman
Sa iyong paglayo, sadya nang naglaho
ang mga pangarap, ang mga pangako

Pag-ibig ay isang kamatayan
Alaala ang tanging iiwan

Kay hirap sundan ang katulad mo
Di ko malaman ang gagawin ko

Challenge accepted #https2015

This blog may not have the massive traffic it once had, I’m still perpetually working on it, the few visitors who happen to drop by and spend some time do so over an insecure HTTP channel.

With the rise of online attacks, where small websites are being used to attack bigger and more valuable online properties, there is a growing consensus that every website owner, publisher or operator join hands in making the internet a more secure place. We can do that by using secure HTTP connections or serving their websites over HTTPS.

Here’s a list of 9 good reasons why we should embrace HTTPS on the New York Times. And there’s a bonus of other good references listed at the end of the article.

The juiciest part of it, if I may say, is the challenge to have this blog fully on HTTPS by 2015. It’s going to be a challenge, but a good one at that. I get to tick off one of the items on my to-do-list cum New Year’s resolution since many years back and I can give my online visitors some peace of mind whenever they drop by for a visit. So let the fortification begin!

Sabado by The Eraserheads

Sabado by The Eraserheads

Buti na lang, Sabado bukas
Pwede tayo lumabas
Humanap ng gagawin
Di na kailangang isipin

Buti na lang, Sabado bukas
At pwede na tayo magwala
Kung magsisi sa huli
Kesa naman walang nangyari

Buti na lang, Sabado bukas
Pwede tayo magpuyat
Sulitin nahanggang Linggo
Kahit saan, wag lamang dito

At pagpanaw ng araw
At paglalim ng dilim
Ang oras ay lumipas
Di na natin maibabalik

Itapon ang kahapon
Yakapin ang darating
At kung kailangan mo ako
Lagi naman ako nandito

Buti na lang, Sabado bukas
Buti na lang, Sabado bukas
Hanapin man nila tayo
Sabihin na lang wala tayo dito