A lawmaker edited his congratulatory post for a swimming team in Misamis Oriental after it initially drew flak for prominently featuring his photo instead of the winners.
Rep. Yevgeny “Bambi” Emano (Misamis Oriental, 2nd District) on Monday cheered the swimming team of the Naawan municipality in the province for winning the FINIS Swimfest National Finals held at New Clark Aquatic Center in Tarlac.
“Cong. Bambi Emano provided the team Financial Support for the said sports event. Kudos to Mayor Dennis Roa and the whole Team!” his Facebook post reads, mentioning the Naawan local chief executive.
In the edited version, Emano’s congratulatory post includes other pictures of the team and a clearer version of the latter’s group photo.
Emano previously accompanied his post with a single photo of the team.
However, their photo was edited to make his face appear more prominent upon first look.
While the picture is no longer available on his Facebook post, it can be seen in the comments section where some Filipinos posted it with captions such as “never forget.”
“Hahaha never forget,” a Facebook user commented with an attachment of the previous photo.
Another Filipino posted the same photo in the comments.
“NKKLK [Nakakaloka] Cong. Mas malinaw pa picture mo kesa sa athletes hahaha, char. Congrats,” a Facebook user commented before the edit took place.
“Medyo aninag pa sila, konting dilim pa Cong. Hehe,” another Pinoy commented.
“Nyahahahahahaha mas malinaw pa picture ng pulitiko kaysa sa mismong winning team,” observed another Facebook user.
“Congrats Cong. EPAL!” wrote a different Pinoy.
Public officials have often been criticized for randomly placing their names and/or photos in publication materials or projects, prompting some people to call them “epal.”
“Epal” is defined as someone who “inappropriately presents himself in a situation or butts into a conversation.”
The term “epal” is also used in the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), the anti-epal provision or General Provision 82 of the adopted 2021 National Budget. This prohibits government officials from self-promotion acts.
“Under the Anti-Epal provision, government officials, whether elected or appointed, are banned from self-promotion through placement of names, pictures, or otherwise on programs, projects, and any other initiatives that are funded by the government through the General Appropriations Act,” ARTA said.
ARTA was authored by Sen. Grace Poe, who said that it is the taxpayers who “fund the projects and programs” of the government.
Some local government units are also implementing other anti-epal ordinances.
Last year, another lawmaker made online buzz for showing relief pack contents stamped with her name and photo instead of the product brands.
A provincial governor likewise drew flak for placing his picture in a pubmat announcing a free photoshop class.