The Black and White Movement (B & WM) has issued a blacklist of congressional candidates to discourage voters of their respective districts from voting them.
The B & W movement is encouraging instead to vote for their respective opponents in the May 14 election.
Among the 12 congressional candidates is Raul Gonzalez, Jr. of Iloilo City. The B & W Movement urges the voters to vote for Vicente "Benjie" Gengos.
Last Sunday, April 22, Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez offered P10,000 bonus each for barangay captains in Iloilo City who could provide a 12–0 victory for Team Unity.
If P10,000.00 each is a bonus, then Sec. Gonzalez maybe paying salaries to the barangay captains in Iloilo City, while they call "Gonzalez Country" as posters and other signages portray.
Is the offer to pay bonus money as the case of P10,000 per barangay captain a COMELEC law violation? According to Comelec Director Renato Magbutay as reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer," that is considered vote buying."
The giving of money is prohibited during the campaign period especially by candidates to officials or supporters.
As stated in Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, a person is guilty of vote buying or selling if he/she "gives, offers or promises money or anything of value, gives or promises any office…or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election…"
Comelec Regional Director Magbutay gave a very honest answer. On the other hand, Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos, Sr. is tight lip. "I don’t want to issue a comment because this might develop into a case and it would be unfair to the commission that any statement I make would be binding to other election commissioners," said Abalos. Commissioner Resurreccion Borra was also tight lip when asked his comment on the matter.
Are they playing politics? Are they, Comelec Commissioners, very careful with the Secretary of Justice at the other end?
These two Comelec commissioners answered without reservation on the matters of showing or not showing of the "Blaze of Glory" where Manny Pacquiao was directly involved as a congressional candidate.
According to Sec. Gonzales, it is a prize if they can work for it and succeed. He saw no wrong with his offer. "I’m not a candidate and I’m not buying votes. The offer is for barangay captains", said Raul Gonzales.
Iloilo City is composed of 180 barangays and Sec. Gonzalez is prepared to pay P1.8 million should Team Unity candidates won in all the 12 positions in each barangay in Iloilo City.
"I have the money" Gonzalez responded when asked where will he get the money. "My offer was only incentive to my leaders so they would work harder in the campaign," Gonzales stressed. Is this a statement of confirmation that Gonzalez is on the election campaign?
In the same meeting, Sec. Gonzalez told barangay captains to ensure the defeat of two candidates for sangguniang panglunsod members of Iloilo City Perla Zulueta and Nielex Tupas.
Gonzalez son, Raul Jr. is running for reelection for the congressional seat of Iloilo City whose strongest contender is Vicente "Benjie" Gengos.
This case of P10,000 for every barangay captain of Iloilo City offered by Secretary Gonzalez is a blatant violation of the Comelec law. This deserves Comelec’s attention and step in, use its power to investigate the issue and apply the law to whoever is involved.
While the P10,000 is still an offer, it is reflective of the mindset of the administration to ensure its victory at any cost. /MP