I’m particularly disturbed by this news item that stated the COMELEC was prohibiting people from wearing t-shirts and hats of a candidate unless accompanied by the candidate himself.

I checked the Omnibus Election Code and Section 85 indeed states it was unlawful

“To purchase, manufacture, request, distribute or accept electoral propaganda gadgets, such as pens, lighters, fans of whatever nature, flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets, shirts, hats, bandanas, matches, cigarettes and the like, except that campaign supporters accompanying a candidate shall be allowed to wear hats and/or shirts or T-shirts advertising a candidate;”

That darn thing should be declared unconstitutional, just as that COMELEC resolution banning stickers was struck down by the Supreme Court in Blo Umpar Adiong vs. COMELEC.

The COMELEC does not have the right to tell me what not to wear. And my endorsement of a candidate and my personal expression of my choice of candidate goes to the heart of freedom of expression. As stated in that case,

“In a series of decisions this Court has held that, even though the governmental purpose be legitimate and substantial, that purpose cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be more narrowly achieved. The breadth of legislative abridgment must be viewed in the light of less drastic means for achieving the same basic purpose.”

Banning my wearing of a candidate’s tshirt without the candidate, therefore, becomes, censorship.


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