UNA says administration out to derail its sortiesBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The United Nationalist Alliance on Wednesday accused the administration of using tactics to derail the party’s Visayas sorties.
In Bohol on Wednesday, PhilHealth cards and bags of rice were purportedly distributed in barangays (villages) in Loon and Balilihan towns that UNA’s senatorial candidates were visiting.
In Cebu on Tuesday, six coasters filled with supporters of Team Rama and One Cebu, UNA’s partners in the province, were reportedly stopped for various alleged violations on their way to the proclamation rally at Plaza Independencia.
Liezl Go, UNA’s mayoral candidate in Loon, said synchronized barangay assemblies were held in Loon and Balilihan during the scheduled visits of her party’s senatorial candidates.
In the assemblies, residents were given PhilHealth cards and plastic bags with about three kilos of rice, Go said.
She said she was even informed that the residents were warned that distribution of the PhilHealth cards would be stopped if they would support UNA.
Because of such warnings, she said some residents stayed away from the UNA events.
UNA’s nine senatorial candidates, along with Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, traveled to Bohol a day after their proclamation rally in Cebu, which the group’s officials said was highly successful.
In Loon, the group visited the town church to have ashes put on their forehead in observance of the start of Lent.
Tuesday’s alleged incident in Cebu prompted Binay to appeal for fair treatment from authorities. He said he would ask the Commission on Elections to look into the case.
Binay said it could be an old ploy, such as when people were stopped and subjected to much scrutiny to prevent them from joining rallies in Metro Manila in the past elections.
A staff member said the Team Rama and One Cebu supporters were in six 40-seater coasters rented from the city government when Land Transportation Office personnel stopped the vehicles, preventing them from attending the proclamation rally.
The LTO personnel reportedly told the drivers that the coasters had no permit and were overloaded. The licenses of the drivers were confiscated.
“I am making an appeal, let us work together and display a new kind of politics where we would not use public office to intimidate and to prevent the exercise of the right to vote,” Binay said.
He said policemen should not be used for such acts.
“Let us display what is daang matuwid (straight path). Shenanigans like those are over. They are out of place now. Let us have clean and honest elections,” he said.
“And we warn those who will be violating [the rules], we will take action,” he said. “We won’t let this pass.”