Pirma exec says ‘Edsa-pwera’ ad donors prefer to stay anonymous
MANILA, Philippines — Donors of the P55-million “Edsa-pwera” ad chose to “invoke their right to privacy” and declined to reveal their identities, People’s Initiative for Reform Modernization and Action (Pirma) lead convenor Noel Oñate said Tuesday.
During a Senate committee hearing on electoral and people’s participation, Oñate said the donors requested to stay anonymous as senators made a follow-up on their previous directive for Pirma to submit the list of ad contributors.
“I have all the intention of fulfilling what I said. I think I told you that we will submit the list of our donors. But I obeyed what Senator Chiz Escudero mentioned here, that ‘maybe you might want to consult your contributors’ – which I did. I did consult them over the last many days and they didn’t want to reveal their names. They didn’t want their names revealed,” he said.
“The reason that they gave me is that they are concerned with their privacy. They are concerned with their security,” he added.
Oñate previously disclosed the amount spent on the “Edsa-pwera” advertisement. He even said that half of the amount came from his pocket.
Senator Imee Marcos, however, blocked Oñate’s remark. Marcos was presiding over the hearing as committee chair.
“There’s no issue of security or privacy. I think it’s a matter of pride as a committed citizen, you are advocating Constitutional change as Senator Chiz Escudero said. It should be an activity that you take pride and honor in,” said Marcos.
Oñate replied: “Maybe they thought about it, and maybe they deemed it more important that their security, their privacy, and their family is higher than their concern about people’s initiative.”
Later in the hearing, Pirma’s legal counsel, Atty. Alex Avisado said Oñate was forced to return a portion of the contributions.
“As to the submission of the name of the contributors, he indeed sought the consent of his contributors, but unfortunately they refused to allow him to divulge their names. That’s why Mr. Oñate was unable to continue because what actually happened was he was forced to return their contributions,” said Avisado.
Avisado added that they have attached in their compliance the withdrawal slips proving that Oñate withdrew substantial amounts and returned the contributions of some of his friends.
Marcos clarified and asked if her understanding of the issue was correct – that Oñate withdrew a portion of the donations and covered for it.
“Yes, that’s why I did,” Oñate said.