Sunday, May 2, 2010

Philippine Election 2010 Campaign Materials

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.

Noynoy Aquino's Psychological Status

As an observer of language, I came across a very instructive case study recently of how a revealing, off-the-cuff press statement of a presidential candidate, Sen. Benigno Aquino III, was fudged in translation and in paraphrase by certain media outlets that reported it. The concern of Jose Carillo's English Forum being primarily the use and misuse of language, however, I would neither dwell on the political implications of that statement nor make any psychological inferences from it. My critique will simply focus on the blatant unfaithfulness of the translation from Tagalog to English by two media outlets, and on how another media outlet presented as direct quotes a heavily paraphrased and fudged English translation of Sen. Aquino's actual statement in Tagalog.

My critique of this unileral fudging of Sen. Aquino's press statement leads off my special watch of media's coverage of the national election campaign. I'm doing this instead of my usual media grammar watch from now until the voting on May 10. It will focus on the language used by the election protagonists and by the media outlets themselves in their poll campaign reportage. I believe that this special watch is called for at this time when most Filipinos are now in such a frenzy over the coming elections.