UNA accuses group backing 4 Team PNoy bets of vote buying

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Rep. Toby Tiangco. FILE PHOTO

TARLAC, Philippines — The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Thursday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to look into an alleged incident of vote buying by the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership which was four supporting Team PNoy senatorial bets.

In a statement, the opposition’s campaign manager, Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, said that the poll body should investigate the organization’s “massive distribution” of gift cheques worth P500 and P1000 from Mercury Drug and National Bookstore.

The group is endorsing Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Aquilino Pimentel III and Bam Aquino.

The distribution of the gift cheques was rampant in Quezon City, according to the UNA official.

UNA bet Nancy Binay echoed Tiangco’s request for the poll body to look into the alleged vote buying, telling reporters that it was “not fair, not right that they are distributing gift cheques during the campaign period.”

“What is alarming is that this foundation is composed of people involved in politics. They are endorsing senatorial candidates,” she said at the sidelines of UNA’s campaign rally in Camiling, Tarlac.

Tiangco said that the opposition saw Kaya Natin as a convenient front for the Liberal Party-led coalition in influencing the voters. Its efforts, he said, were disguised as humanitarian assistance.

“Tinataon nila sa panahon ng local campaign (ang pamimigay ng gift cheques) at malinaw na may perang involved,” he said.

Kaya Natin itself should be looked into, added Tiangco, citing the organization’s members who are affiliated with the Liberal Party such as former Isabela governor and now Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca, Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Fr. Ed Panlilio, and Bam Aquino.

Big lie, malicious statement

This was however denied by Kaya Natin lead convener Harvey Keh who replied through his Twitter account (@harveykeh) that the opposition’s statement was a “big lie” and a “malicious statement.”

Keh went on to challenge Tiangco to resign as UNA’s campaign manager should he fail to produce evidence.

“If Cong. Tiangco cannot show us the GCs which contain d names of Team PNoy candidates. I suggest he immediately resign as UNA campaign manager for spreading lies and malicious information,” twitted the Kaya Natin official.

Not resigning

In a phone interview, Tiangco questioned Keh’s dare for him to produce evidence or resign from his post in UNA.

“He cannot say what I can or cannot do–not someone who has been (threatened to be) held in contempt by the court,” he said, adding that only the execom of the opposition could decide.

During the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona last year, Keh was asked to explain why he should not be held in contempt after he submitted to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s office documents supposedly containing information about Corona’s foreign currency deposits.

Originally posted at 03:09 pm | Thursday, April 4, 2013

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