Is the Philippine President, Benigno Aquino II, his sister, Kris Aquino, and current presidentiable, Mar Roxas III, guilty of an election offense?
Many Filipinos took to social media to express their anger over the alleged use of government choppers for a campaign of the ruling party, the Liberal Party (LP), on Wednesday.
President Aquino’s sister, a local celebrity, was seen alighting from a chopper bearing the official seal of the country’s leader. It was being used at a campaign sortie, according to the post. A video of the event immediately spread like wildfire online, with Facebook groups quickly being filled by opinions and rants of members, who were angered by the use of the citizen-funded choppers.
According to a local report from Philstar.com, Aquino used the choppers on her campaigning for the standard bearer, Roxas, of LP. Roxas is well known for his monicker, “Mar” and is married to a local news anchor, Korina Sanchez.
Four choppers were also seen in the video. It is not clear if all four are government helicopters, but their front colors looked the same.
Is the President, his sister and the party standard bearer, Mar Roxas, guilty of an election offense?
According to the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines Section 261.a.o.3:
“Use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign. – Any person who uses under any guise whatsoever, directly or indirectly…
any equipment, vehicle, facility, apparatus, or paraphernalia owned by the government or by its political subdivisions, agencies including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for any election campaign or for any partisan political activity.”
There were also photos that circulated online. Those were released by the Municipality of Dalaguete, and were re-uploaded by a Facebook user named “Peshmerga Abs” according to Philstar.com.
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There was also a photo of the President riding a black vehicle, but Morning News USA is yet to prove if it was taken on the same day.
Ibarra Gutierrez, a spokesperson for the Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid said the photos were “malicious.” He further said that it could be that the President was just being escorted by his sister during a trip.
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So if the video was really form a campaign, then they are guilty of an election offense. However, if the video proved Gutierrez’ theory, then this may only be a smear campaign.
The photos circulated amid the controversy surrounding the front-runner, Rodrigo Duterte, for his “rape joke.” A video of an LP campaign where people were distributing envelopes also went viral days ago.
Stay tuned for more information on the matter.
If you have anything to add or comment, email the reporter at nikki[at]morningnewsusa.com.