The Office of the secretary to Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim has warned against tearing down the yellow banners displayed in the city and bearing the faces of slain senator Benigno `Ninoy' Aquino, Jr. and his wife, former President Corazon Aquino unless they are ready to face charges.
Lawyer Rafaelito Garayblas said that last month, city legal officer Renato dela Cruz wrote the Commission on Elections to seek its opinion on the action taken by some Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel, assisted by policemen from the National Capital Region Office (NCRPO), who jointly tore down the Cory and Ninoy banners from the center islands along Roxas Boulevard and Padre Burgos Street and the park where the statues of the Aquino couple stood, at the corner of P. Burgos and Bonifacio Drive in Ermita.
In his letter to Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan, Director IV of the Comelec's law department, Dela Cruz asked if such move by the MMDA and the NCRPO was authorized by the Comelec.
In his letter-reply, Rafanan said the Comelec did not issue any authority to remove the said banners.
"Further, banners bearing only the pictures and names of Ninoy and Cory Aquino are not considered election campaign materials as provided under Comelec Resolution 875," Rafanan said in his letter, which was signed not only by him but also by Director III Atty. Josllyn de Mesa and Atty. Ma Juan Valeza, attorney IV of the investigation and prosecution division.
Garayblas said the city government had maintained that the yellow banners only bore pictures and names of both Ninoy and Cory and were the city's little way of paying tribute to them as their modern-day heroes.