No vote-buying from Velasco camp, Gonzales insists
MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to his earlier pronouncements, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. said tuesday he no longer knows anything about the reported “vote-buying” in the chamber for the Speaker race, even as he backed a possible probe into the issue.
The lawmaker, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban)’s National Executive Vice President, was also a contender for the position but he withdrew from the race after their party decided to back the bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
“Sa grupo namin wala akong alam na vote-buying… Sa iba [na grupo]? Hindi ko alam kasi hindi ko naman sila nakakausap. Pero dito kay Cong. Lord walang vote-buying dito, araw-araw magkakasama kami, walang vote-buying dito,” he said in a phone interview.
(In our group, there is no vote-buying. Maybe in other groups? I don’t really know because I haven’t talked to them. But in Cong. Lord’s camp, there is no vote-buying. We are together every day. There’s no vote-buying.)
“Palaging pumupunta lang dito sa amin [‘yung mga] nagsa-sign ng manifesto of support kay Cong. Lord (People come here only to sign a manifesto of support for Cong. Lord),” he added.
Asked if he supports an investigation of the alleged bribery claims, Gonzales answered: “Well ako wala akong alam eh, ‘yung iba siguro pwede paimbestigahan’ yan kung meron silang pruweba. Kung talagang merong ganyan bakit hindi, ‘di ba (I don’t know anything. Maybe they can investigate others if they can prove it [vote-buying] If there is really vote-buying, why not)?” he said.
On June 4, Gonzales, who was then a Speaker aspirant, said some candidates for Speaker would spend up to P7 million per House member.
“Sa 2 milyon (pesos) maliit pa nga ”yun eh. I heard yesterday na magiging P7 million pa ”yan pero dapat ”wag nang ganun (P2 million is small. I heard yesterday that it could reach P7 million, but it should not happen that way),” he said.
Former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez first revealed the alleged vote-buying scheme in the lower chamber in connection with the Speaker race.
Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, also a Speaker contender, later confirmed this and even dared fellow candidates to undergo a lie detector test to resolve the issue finally.
Meanwhile, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., a member of the 54-strong party-list coalition in the House, said he has yet to receive such offers.
“Hindi ko makukumpirma dahil wala akong personal knowledge… wala naman nag-aalok sa akin (I cannot confirm it because I have no personal knowledge of the issue. No one has offered me),” he said in an interview.
Velasco and the camp of Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, another Speaker candidate, have denied bribing their way to the position. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.