A LEFTIST group on Thursday said the Liberal Party is coercing beneficiaries of a government dole program to join a “unity walk” rally at the Luneta Friday for administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II.
“We have received information that 4Ps members in Manila are being required to attend a ‘unity walk’ for Mar Roxas in Luneta under the guise of the monthly Family Development Session of the 4Ps [Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program],” said Renato Reyes, secretary-general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.
The group said the 4Ps members are being threatened with a P500 deduction from their monthly support should they fail to attend.
“This is a shameless use of public funds for a partisan political activity. It is illegal and immoral at the same time,” Reyes said.
Bayan also threatened to file charges against the administration and the Liberal Party officials.
“Should they push through with the Luneta event tomorrow with Mar Roxas, government officials and candidates involved should be slapped with violations of election laws as well as violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“The CCT [conditional cash transfer] funds are not the campaign funds of the LP. They should not be used to promote the candidacy of individuals,” Reyes said.
Earlier, opposition candidate for president Vice President Jejomar Binay earlier accused a Palace official whom he did not name of using the P64.7-billion CCT 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 said.
Binay also accused the Liberals and the Cabinet secretary of using scare tactics that said Binay would stop the 4Ps program if he were elected.
In Dipolog City, Binay also denounced the coercion of 4Ps beneficiaries to attend the Roxas rally on Friday.
“It is detestable that the LP is using the defenseless poor and government resources for campaigning and electioneering,” Binay said. “They are desperate in trying to boost Mr. Roxas’ rating at the expense of the poor.”
He said President Benigno Aquino III, the LP and Roxas would be guilty of electioneering for using government resources for campaigning.
This is the second time in as many days that the Liberals tried to mount a “loyalty check” and project a “show of force” after a huge crowd of local officials were made to show up purportedly backing Roxas’ presidential bid at Club FilipinoThursday.
Some 4Ps members said during meetings called by the Department of Social Welfare and Development that the organizers of the unity walk told them that they must participate to show Roxas their support.
“We were told that we have to show many of us wanted to continue the program and by the show of force, we can convey to Mar Roxas our desire that we support his promise to continue the program,” a member of 4Ps told The Standard in Filipino.
The DSWD officials, she said, kept on warning them that should Roxas lose the elections, other candidates would scrap the program.
But the 4Ps member said the parent-recipients accepted Binay’s reassurance that he would continue the program and in fact expand it to include senior citizens aged 60 to 64.
Roxas, in his political ads, said the Daang Matuwid has managed to help more than 4 million households under the 4Ps.
Binay vowed those who unfairly used the poor would be made to account for their actions under his administration.
On Thursday, a sea of yellow shirts led by the President filled the Club Filipino in Greenhills to support Roxas and his running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
The LP members and allies chanted “Roxas, Robredo” after Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista introduced the two to a packed Kalayaan Hall.
LP political leaders from different provinces vowed to deliver votes for the administration bets.
Both Roxas and Robredo vowed to continue the 4Ps program.
Aquino, who was the guest of honor, said many LP candidates in the provinces were running unopposed, and that this would nail the victory for the administration ticket.
Roxas also vowed to continue Aquino’s program of “Daang Matuwid.”
The LP rallies come in the wake of recent opinion surveys showing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ahead in the presidential race, and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leading the vice presidential race. With Sandy Araneta
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