MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday said an online contest by senatorial candidate Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal could be a form of “vote buying.”
But Esmeralda Amora-Ladra, director of the Comelec Law Department, told reporters the poll body would like to hear Madrigal’s explanation on the contest she launched on Facebook and Twitter where winner could bag an iPad.
“We will be giving her a formal notice to explain,” Amora-Ladra said. “We want a written explanation from her on why she should not be charged.”
She said that the Comelec has printed screenshots of Madrigal’s post on Facebook on February 14 that urged her followers to complete the sentence: “Corruption is bad because…”
The post was taken down after Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. announced in a press conference that an administration senatorial candidate was being investigated for holding an online contest.
Brillantes did not disclose who the candidate was but Comelec reporters searched online and found Madrigal’s post on Facebook and Twitter
Madrigal has apologized for the post even as she blamed her volunteers for holding the contest.
But Ladra said Madrigal’s apology and explanation that her volunteers were behind the contest would not be acceptable “because it’s her [official] Facebook account.”
She said that Madrigal’s contest could “fall under vote buying … because of the offer to give away anything of value for the purpose of getting the votes of the public [whether it was done] directly or indirectly.”
“We are ready to investigate but we are considering the fact that she has stopped and taken down the post,” Ladra said.