TAYABAS CITY, Quezon—Opposition United Nationalist Alliance presidential bet Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday accused a Cabinet official and the ruling Liberal Party of using the P64.7 billion Conditional Cash Transfer funds to buy votes, in the guise of recruiting poll watchers.
“The recruitment of poll watchers is happening already. A Cabinet official is involved. They are using public funds, particularly 4Ps or CCT funds to buy votes,” Binay told reporters, referring to the government’s dole program.
Binay would not name the Cabinet official involved, but the Cabinet member who has authority over the distribution of CCT benefits under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps is Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman.
“They kept saving and saving, and even underspent [on government projects] so they could use the money during the election. Now, they are suddenly spending, and the money is flowing,” Binay said in Filipino.
Also on Friday, Malacañang said the Commission on Elections should investigate complaints that the Liberal Party was using government vehicles in the campaign sorties of administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II, after users of social media posted photographs of these.
“We’re glad that citizens were vigilant. There is no excuse for the use by the local government of their vehicle by any supporter for any candidate,” said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda. “The Comelec has the responsibility and the mandate to act accordingly.”
Lacierda was reacting to posts on social media showing government vehicles being used in the Roxas campaign.
Yellow posters of Roxas were shown being put up, and a photo of a red-plate government vehicle was being used for the campaign.
The Comelec said complainants should file formal complaints if they have sufficient evidence against any candidate, as social media was being used as an instrument to gather reports of campaign violations.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body does monitor social media complaints—particularly those addressed to the Comelec’s accounts and the hashtag #SumbongKo.
However, he acknowledged they have been flooded by complaints.
During his sortie speech in nearby Candelaria, Binay told supporters about the Liberal’s alleged plot to cheat in the May 9 polls to favor Roxas.
He said the Cabinet secretary was with Roxas’ entourage when the Liberals went to Laguna to start the vote buying and recruitment.
Reports reaching his camp, Binay said, showed the secretary issued the marching orders to the local agency officials to start recruiting poll watchers for the May presidential polls.
“Based on reports reaching me, one government secretary went to Laguna and said, ‘Hey get as many watchers, we’ll pay for them using money from 4Ps’,” Binay said.
He also accused the Liberals and the Cabinet secretary of using scare tactics that said Binay would stop the 4Ps program if he were elected.
The 4Ps, a straight dole program for the poor, was created by Soliman when she was still Social Welfare secretary under the Arroyo administration. Aquino increase funding to the program and turned it into his flagship poverty alleviation program.
“My opponents are scaring the public, particularly the poor who are recipients of the 4Ps that I will discontinue the program should I win the presidential race. That is a big lie. That is not true,” Binay told the crowd.
On the contrary, Binay said his administration would expand the coverage of the 4Ps that would include senior citizens.
“We will include the senior citizens in our 4Ps. They have served our country well in their younger days. It is but right that we would make it our turn to take care of them in their remaining days,” Binay said.
The vice president said at age 73, he is a senior citizen himself and he clearly understood that the old men and women did not want to feel they are a burden to their children, particularly when in their old days, they acquire all kinds of illnesses that needed constant medical attention and hospitalization.
“Our senior citizens cannot afford maintenance medicine. Most of them would rather keep quiet about their illnesses than be a burden to their children.
“Under my administration, we will accord our senior citizens the respect that they deserve. Our senior citizens will have their dignity intact until their last days,” said Binay, whose declaration was met by a loud cheer from senior citizens who attended the campaign rally.
Binay warned that it would not be long that the administration candidates would reach them and bribe them.
“Money and public funds from the administration will flood this election. My advise to you, take the money because that is your money coming from the taxpayers, use it to buy your basic needs but do not put in your ballot the names of those who tried to buy your votes. Write in the ballot the rightful and deserving candidates. Write Binay and Gregorio Honasan, my running mate, and UNA senatorial candidates in your ballots,” Binay said.
Also on Friday, the online news site Rappler.com said it had detected “systematic, organized gaming” of a digital survey it conducted in December 2015 that gave Roxas the win.
The website said an “irregular surge” in the first three days of polling in January led them to reevaluate the December results.
“Roxas was clearly the beneficiary of this manipulation, but the numbers and the sources of the vote surge do not allow us to identify who may have been behind the attempt to game the survey. This could be either his supporters or people out to discredit him,” the report added.
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