Social media has turned into a battle ground among presidential candidates for next month’s elections as another controversial online video turned up yesterday showing the distribution of envelopes in a Liberal Party (LP) campaign sortie in Pikit, North Cotabato last March 31. In the video, the emcee, who appears to be rehearsing the crowd in chanting for LP standard bearer Mar Roxas told the audience that those who will not be heard will not receive envelopes.
The video posted in social media site YouTube by KutangBato Vlogge showed emcee encouraging the crowd to shout, ‘Oras na, Roxas na (It’s time for Roxas).’”
During the rehearsal, the emcee told the crowd: “The chanting is weak here. You will not get envelopes. The chanting at the back is weak. You won’t receive envelopes later.”
It was not, however, known what the envelopes contained.
The video showed the emcee handing an envelope to a lady who answered “Korina Sanchez” supposedly to a question on who is Roxas’ wife.
The emcee told the woman “you are right. Every right answer deserves an envelope.”
The video then showed the emcee giving an envelope to another member of the audience.
The alleged envelope-distribution happened shortly before Roxas and his running mate, Rep. Leni Robredo, arrived at the venue of his sortie in the town of Pikit, North Cotabato, last March.
The camp of Roxas, in a statement, said that it condemns the distribution of “envelopes” during sorties and it will investigate the incident.
“I am firmly condemning these acts. This is not part of our platform, program, and actions,” Roxas said.
“I have not seen the video, but if this really happened, we will look into who are its organizers and we will communicate our view that it is not right and it should be stopped,” he said.
Akbayan Party List Rep. Barry Gutierrez, the spokesman of the Daang Matuwid Coalition, said the coaltion has “zero tolerance” on any actions that violate election laws.
North Cotabato 1st district Rep. Jesus Sacdalan, under whose jurisdiction Pikit is located, said the emcee could have been joking.
“I want to clarify the issue where the emcee may have said an unappropriate joke about the envelopes. The joke has no basis and it was not according to the agreed rules. We do not engage in that kind of politics,” he said in a statement.
The video appeared the day after a YouTube post that showed Roxas chief rival Rodrigo Duterte uttering a reprehensible joke about a murdered Australian lay minister who was also raped during a prison riot in 1989.
The video elicited a global outrage on Duterte particularly after he said that he would not apologize on his remark which he claimed to have uttered “in anger” over the incident.
Roxas tries to win Palawan
In a sortie in Palawan, Roxas committed more infrastructure projects to Palawan to help its tourism industry and to create additional livelihood opportunities and jobs for residents.
Roxas, who was with other LP candidates, said this is his goal for Palawan that is popular in the Philippines and worldwide as a tourism destination.
Infrastructure projects, he said, are about good roads, accessible ports, reliable transportation and communication, emergency hospital facilities that are within reach to tourists and others.
Infrastructure is the friend of the tourism industry, the presidential candidate said, as he visited Puerto Princesa and Palawan to campaign on Saturday.
In a media conference at a hotel here, Roxas replied to questions about issues on the coal-fired power plant that is being pushed in the province to provide sustainable power supply.
The presidential candidate said that although personally he’s not endorsing coal plants for balanced power anywhere in the country, he is willing to study the needs of the Palaweños if he wins.
“I will study the need because maybe if we don’t add power generation plants, you will run out of supply, and this might result in an economic slump here. What will happen to the hotels, to other establishments if you don’t have power?,” Roxas said, adding the people need to be consulted for this.
Informed that there is also a drug problem in Palawan at present, Roxas said the best solution in knowing the masterminds is on the street level because those who are there know their details.
“Where there are drugs, there is money. On the streets, drugs are sold in small grams, but if you bring them all together, they’re worth billions and billions. Let’s look for the financier; let’s look for the person behind the manufacturing of the drugs,” he said.
On the issue of the Malampaya shares that Palawan is still waiting to receive from the national government pending a court decision, Roxas said he will obey what is lawful and that is for the province to receive its share from the offshore gas operation.
“What is the rightful share for Palawan should be given. We will not deny this share to the Palaweño people, we will not embargo, and we will not sequester,” he concluded.