Saturday, February 27, 2010

Villar: P20 was meant to buy camote, not votes

02/27/2010 | 07:31 PM

Original Story:

VILLASIS, Pangasinan—It was meant to buy camote and not to buy votes.

This was how Nacionalista Party standard bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr. on Saturday defended his handing out P20 bills to children during his campaign sorties in Batangas province. (See: Villar gives P20 bills to kids in Batangas)

He said his giving out money cannot be considered as vote-buying since the children are not registered voters.

"Yung mga bata hindi naman nakakaboto yun. Di vote buying yun. Pambili lang ng kamote yun. Napakain mo lang ng kamote, masama na. Huwag naman ganoon," he told reporters during the NP's campaign sortie in this bustling town of central Pangasinan.

He also clarified that the distribution of scholarship certificates during NP's Rockatropa concert Thursday was just ceremonial, as these have already been earlier granted to the beneficiaries.

"Noon pa yun binigay sa Wowowee," Villar said, referring to a noontime television program where he made recent appearances. He added that his party will continue giving such scholarship grants despite the flak that it has been receiving.

Villar said that those who have more in life should give something to the less fortunate people.

"Ang lahat po na biniyayaan ng Diyos, dapat tayo ay mamahagi sa ating mahihirap na kababayan. Wag po tayo padadala sa mga naninira at nagsasabing wag tayong tumulong sa mahihirap," he said.

Told that giving out cash to the public during the campaign period is prohibited, Villar agreed but insisted that this did not mean allowing the children to eat camote.

Camote, also known as sweet potato, is a root crop that often substitutes for staple food during rice scarcity or for impoverished households, and thus is a food associated with utter poverty.

Under Article 12, Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, vote-buying is denied as the act of giving, offering, or promising money or anything of value, including promises of “employment, franchise or grant, public or private" in order to influence a voter’s electoral preferences.

Vote-buying also involves making or offering to incur expenses that will, directly or indirectly, benefit a person, association, corporation, entity, or community “to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party."—JV, GMANews.TV

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