The Philippine Consulate General questioned the use of a photograph of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the Philippine presidential seal in this Lingle-Aiona campaign flyer.
The Philippine Consulate General yesterday questioned the use of a photograph of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the Philippine presidential seal in Lingle-Aiona campaign literature.
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"Their use in the local political campaign is unfortunate because it may be misinterpreted as interference in a U.S. election," a press release from Consul General Rolando Gregorio's office stated.
The statement did not say that use of the photo is illegal, but says, "There are Philippine laws and protocol regarding the use and display of national heraldic symbols."
Several Filipino Americans called a press conference yesterday to complain about the flyers. Republicans responded that the complaint is politically motivated.
The campaign flyer photo shows Linda Lingle and Duke Aiona talking with Arroyo during her Oct. 24 visit to Honolulu.
The flyer talks about "building a future for Hawaii's Filipinos," repeats the phrase in Ilocano and prominently features the Philippine presidential seal.
The photograph caption says, "Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo takes time out from her busy schedule, in her presidential suite, to discuss building future Hawaii-Philippine relationships while extending her best wishes to Linda Lingle and Judge Duke Aiona during a recent visit to Hawaii."
About 40,000 copies of the flyer were printed and distributed to the Filipino community.
"It's just the use of it that's wrong," said Raymund Liongson, chairman of the Philippine Celebration Coordinating Committee. "If Mrs. Hirono did this, we would raise the same questions and issues here."
Liongson's committee planned the Oct. 24 dinner for Arroyo and "we asked that no one politicize the event," he said. Among the 20 committee members are Lingle supporters, Hirono supporters and undecideds, he said.
At first, the Lingle campaign faxed a press release quoting attorney Nelson Befitel as saying Arroyo "gave explicit permission to use and distribute the photograph as well as the presidential seal." A revised release faxed later in the day omitted that statement.
Liongson said yesterday he seriously doubts Arroyo would have given permission to use the presidential seal.
Rick Manayan, a spokesman for the Lingle-Aiona Filipino Coalition, said it was important to show Filipino voters that Lingle and Aiona met with Arroyo and that "it's obvious" that Arroyo was not endorsing the candidates.
Liongson disagreed. "This subliminal message here is very misleading, deceptive and outrageous," he said. "To me, it is a breach of diplomatic propriety."
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