Feb 192013
Taking down the announcement and stopping her online contest will not spare senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal from the investigation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), poll chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Wednesday.

“Kahit tanggalin niya, naumpisahan na. Ultimately, pag makita na may violation tutuluyan namin, disqualification at possible criminal election offense,” Brillantes told reporters as he confirmed that it was Madrigal whom they were investigating.

Brillantes on Tuesday bared that they were investigating an administration senatorial candidate for alleged illegal campaigning for launching an online contest with an iPad as prize. He, however, did not identify the candidate.

Madrigal, in an interview later Tuesday, admitted that she launched the contest but refused to comment on the issue until she and her lawyers receive the formal complaint from the Comelec.

The Facebook page of the contest has since been taken down.

Brillantes welcomed Madrigal’s decision to stop the contest as it will “mitigate the action” of the Comelec. He noted that since the candidate has yet to give an iPad as prize, the act is not consummated yet.

“Tingin ko hindi pa naman nagbibigay ng premyo so hindi pa consummated ‘yung act. Pero hindi pa tapos ang checking,  [we’re] verifying pa kung may case to file,” he said.  

Asked if there are other candidates being investigated for a similar alleged offense, Brillantes said Madrigal’s was the only case he knew. “So far isa pa lang. Ewan ko kung may nakitang bago.”  

He noted that most of the senatorial candidates follow the campaign rules as they do not want to take the risk of being charged and disqualified. “Mababait naman ang mga senador. They cannot take the risk. Pag nasabihan inaatras na nila.”

Brillantes also reiterated that giving away small items such as bracelets, t-shirts, mugs, umbrellas and ballpens is not prohibited as long as it is part of the campaign and not intended for vote-buying.

“Kung namimigay para sa kampanya OK lang ‘yun. Pero namimigay ng kahon-kahon na t-shirt, relo- lighter, one o two days before elections? That could be vote-buying. Pang come-on lang, campaign ‘yun. Pag  premyo is another provision,” he said.

Section 97 of the Omnibus Election Code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to hold dances, lotteries, cockfights, games, boxing bouts, bingo, beauty contests, entertainments, or cinematographic, theatrical or other performances for the purpose of raising funds for an election campaign or for the support of any candidate from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day.”

It also states that it shall be unlawful “for any person or organization, whether civic or religious, directly or indirectly, to solicit and/or accept from any candidate for public office, or from his campaign manager, agent or representative, or any person acting in their behalf, any gift, food, transportation, contribution or donation in cash or in kind from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day.” — KBK, GMA News

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