Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez recently called on schools not to invite political candidates in their graduation rites or commencement exercises.
According to Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, the DepEd will consider Comelec’s recommendation of prohibiting candidates in the 2019 midterm elections from speaking in graduation ceremonies during the campaign period. DepEd officials are set to discuss it in their executive meeting.
Under DepEd’s existing guidelines, candidates are not prohibited to speak in graduation ceremonies, since these are not considered as a political activities. What the guidelines prohibit is turning the graduation rite into a political forum or platform, which constitutes electioneering. Electioneering are activities such as rallies, parades, making speeches or other similar assemblies for the purpose of directly or indirectly soliciting votes and undertaking a campaign for or against a candidate or party.
If ever DepEd were to issue an order to ban political candidates from graduation rites, it will only apply to public schools only and will not cover privately-run schools.
Do you agree that political candidates should not be invited as speakers in graduation ceremonies?