Poe-Escudero camp denies paying supporters at Comelec
THE camp of Grace Poe and Francis Escudero on Thursday denied paying for the people who showed their support for the two senators when they filed their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections in Intramuros, Manila.
A video taken by the Inquirer purportedly showed that some of those who attended the gathering for Poe and Escudero were given P50 cash, noodles, fried chicken and water.
“There is absolutely no truth that supporters who came to send off Senator Poe were paid P50. The massive crowd outside (the) Comelec was a spontaneous gathering of supporters eager to send off (Poe and Escudero) as they filed their COCs,” said Poe’s spokesperson, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian.
Accompanied by their families, Poe and Escudero arrived at 3 p.m. to the loud cheers of thousands of their supporters who massed outside the Comelec headquarters and in front of Manila Cathedral.
Policemen deployed to maintain order in the area said the crowd which greeted the two senators was bigger than the number of people earlier in the day for administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas and his running mate, Camarines Rep. Leni Robredo.
The video showed a group of men and women huddled in front of a makeshift house along Cabildo Street, Intramuros, while a man was reading names from a yellow paper.
P50, food packs
A pedicab driver, who only identified himself as Rudy, said each of them received P50 and food packs as promised by their local leaders.
“P50 is better than getting nothing,” the man said as he carefully wrapped five food packs with a tarpaulin printed with the word “#POE2016.”
He said about 100 of his neighbors in Barangay 658 in Manila were “invited” by local leaders whom he refused to identify.
Rudy’s companion, a middle-aged man who declined to give his name, said it was a common practice for politicians to hire residents near the Comelec headquarters.
In the video, a man wearing a white shirt emblazoned with Poe’s face was seen reading names from a list.
“Melvin … Here. Give it to Melvin,” he said in Filipino as a woman seated on his right gave a paper bill to another man.
In another video, two women were heard talking about the money which was apparently given to another person.
“Mag-aabono ako n’yan (I may have to pay for it),” the woman was heard as saying.
Others who showed up at the political rally said they paid for their food and even bought water for their fellow Poe supporters.
Roy Ansing, a businessman from Mandaluyong City, said he, his family and their friends were “all out” for Poe who, he said, was the “only candidate who can bring about genuine change.”
“We’re just tired of seeing trapos (traditional politicians). If we want genuine change, we should vote for the new breed of leaders like Grace Poe,” Ansing said.
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