MALACAÑANG HAS warned that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s name is being used by some “unauthorized” groups to “solicit or accept campaign contributions” for his Senate bets.
“It has come to the attention of the Office of the President that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s name has been used or dropped to solicit or accept campaign funds, contributions or materials in favor of the senatorial candidates he has personally endorsed,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement released to reporters on Wednesday night, Feb. 13.
He said that Mr. Duterte “has not authorized anyone in either the private or public sector, including government agencies like the Bureau of Customs, to resort to such illegal undertakings.”
Mr. Panelo said the Filipino people by now “should know that such a practice goes against the very principle which this Administration protects and advocates.”
He said further that any individual, “regardless if one works in the government as an official or employee, who is or has been made the subject of solicitation using the name of the President, whether deliberate or inadvertent, should report immediately such fraud to the National Bureau of Investigation or to other law enforcement agencies.”
“This is yet another money-making scheme and those involved in this scam shall be dealt with in accordance with law,” the spokesman said.
The President was set to attend on Thursday afternoon the kick-off rally of the ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) called on government officials and employees to refrain from partisan activities relating to the midterm elections in May.
In a press conference on Thursday, PACC Chair Dante L.A. Jimenez said politicians need to heed the words of Mr. Duterte, who has previously stressed that government officials should not be biased with certain candidates.
“I would like to warn all those government agencies under the control and the supervision of the President to take the words of the President very seriously,” the PACC chair said.
In the same press briefing, Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez said they are looking forward to their partnership with the PACC intended to address the perennial problem of government officials committing partisan political activities.
“That has always been a problem in terms of enforcement because syempre may mga (of course there are) government officials na sumisimple na nakakalusot sa kanilang (who do it subtly and get away with their) partisan political activities, but with PACC on the job and PACC on the lookout, we hope that we will remove the motivation of these people to engage in partisan activities,” Mr. Jimenez said.
The Comelec spokesperson also raised the issue of candidates using government workers to aid their campaign.
He said, “If an agency of a government were to deploy workers to put up streamers or banners of a political candidate, then we have a case for partisan political activities.”
The Comelec will flag the use of government vehicles for motorcades and other resources for political activities.
Section 261 Article 22 of the Omnibus Election Code states that intervention of public officials and employees and use of public funds and facilities for campaigning are some of the prohibited acts during the election period.
PACC Executive Director Eduardo V. Bringas said that more than the Omnibus Election Code, partisan political activity is against the 1987 Constitution.
“Under Article, Section 2, paragraph 4 of the Constitution, it says that no officer or employee of the Civil Service shall engage directly or indirectly in any election hearing or participate in the campaign,” he said. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Gillian M. Cortez