Comelec sues Morato for electioneering
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has filed electioneering charges against former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chief Manuel Morato for allegedly using his TV show in 2010 to campaign for then presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro.
Morato was charged with four counts of electioneering activities for allegedly campaigning for Teodoro, then affiliated with the Lakas-Kampi CMD administration party, via episodes of his weekly public affairs television show “Dial M,” aired on state-run NBN 4 and IBC 13.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told the Inquirer that the case was filed yesterday after the Comelec denied a motion for reconsideration submitted by Morato.
The Comelec en banc found no merit in the motion as there was “no new argument raised” by the respondent.
The four counts of alleged election-related offenses include: the use of public funds, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for any election campaign or for any partisan political activity; two counts of prohibited forms of election propaganda, and publication or broadcasting through mass media of political advertisement or propaganda prior to the effectivity of the Comelec rules and regulations.
In a May resolution issued by the Comelec, the poll body resolved that Morato’s use of his television program to campaign for Teodoro and his running mate, actor and TV host Edu Manzano, as well as his attack against the senatorial candidates Teofisto Guingona III, Francis Escudero and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel were clearly established.
Escudero and Guingona eventually won seats in the 2010 elections.
Morato, in several episodes of his program, allegedly allowed the display of Teodoro’s and Manzano’s campaign materials on his set, stuck campaign stickers of the presidential candidate on his chest and pronounced support for their candidacies.With a report from Julie M. Aurelio
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