Robin Padilla admits forking out own money for PI: ‘Pang-Jollibee nila’
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Robinhood Padilla on Monday disclosed spending his own money — to treat students to Jollibee — while doing his own Charter change (Cha-cha) effort via people’s initiative (PI).
Even before the ongoing signature campaign, Padilla said he had already been doing his PI by going around the country to discuss his advocacy for a unicameral form of government.
“I haven’t reached the point of soliciting signatures, but with my own money, I give contributions for graduation. Because I attend graduations, I speak there and give money for Jollibee treats,” Padilla said in Filipino in an interview with ANC’s “Headstart.”
“That’s what I give to each student: It’s for your Jollibee – after I deliver my speech. And that is my own money, not government funds. However, I haven’t started collecting signatures yet. I’m not asking for any signatures. I’m not there yet,” he added.
Padilla later clarified that shelling out money for transportation or food does not automatically mean vote-buying.
It would be a different story though if someone is told that he’s receiving money in exchange for a signature for Cha-cha, he pointed out.
“But that’s already my practice even before I entered politics. I’ve been giving away my money. For me, blessings are meant to be shared with others,” he said.
“For example, when I’m at a graduation, I don’t explicitly say that I’m campaigning for PI. I just delivered a speech about the unicameral form of government, and they were shouting ‘blowout.’ Of course, I’m not insensitive not to provide a little Jollibee treat for them,” he added.
Padilla heads the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, which previously deliberated on proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution.
The move, however, did not succeed as the panel report failed to obtain the required signatures of its members.
Along with 23 other senators, Padilla recently signed a manifesto against the ongoing PI which has been gathering signatures for a Cha-cha petition – it is being hounded by corruption allegations.
The senator underscored that he only signed the manifesto as the current PI expressly proposes a joint voting by the Senate and House of Representatives.