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MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal appeared at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, February 28, to formally explain a controversial online game that could make her liable for an election offense.
Madrigal, who earlier blamed her young volunteers for hosting the game – and drew flak for doing this – said she is taking responsibility.
“Lilinawin ko lang po na hindi ko ginagamit ang mga volunteers ko na panakip-butas, kaya po ako ang humaharap sa inyo ngayon dito para po proteksyunan sila,” Madrigal said in a statement. (I want to clarify that I am not using my volunteers as scapegoats, so I am now appearing before you to protect them.)
Madrigal added she owes her volunteers a lot, and “no harm was intended” on their part. “Kaya hindi ko hahayaan na madawit sila dito. Kawawa naman po sila,” she said. (That's why I'll not allow them to get dragged into this. I pity them.)
The Comelec earlier said it may disqualify Madrigal for hosting an online game, through Facebook and Twitter, with an iPad as the prize. The poll body vowed to strictly implement its campaign regulations, which, for the first time, include rules on online campaigns.
The Omnibus Election Code, under Section 97, prohibits lotteries and games, among other things, “for the support of any candidate from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day.”
Section 261 (a) of the law also says “any person who gives, offers, or promises money or anything of value... in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate” is guilty of vote-buying.
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