Comelec to file electioneering charges vs ex-PCSO chair

Rappler.com
Former PCSO chairman Manoling Morato allegedly campaigned for Gilbert Teodoro and Edu Manzano in his TV show in 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Manoling Morato will face electioneering charges for supposedly campaigning for candidates in the 2010 national polls in his TV show.

In a 16-page resolution, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered its Law Department to file charges against Morato for using his television talk show “Dial M” to campaign for presidential and vice-presidential candidates Gilbert Teodoro and Edu Manzano, respectively, two years ago.

Morato hosted “Dial M,” broadcasted by the state-owned NBN-4, from 2004 to 2010.

The former PCSO chair also allegedly used the TV program to campaign against senatorial bets Francis Escudero, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and Teofisto Guingona.

Comelec said it was clearly established that Morato had violated the Omnibus Election Code, which prohibits the “use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign.”

Morato was said to have allowed the display of a huge tarpaulin poster of Teodoro and Manzano on the set of his TV show and a sticker bearing the word “Gibo” on his chest. He even pronounced his support for Teodoro while discouraged the viewers from voting for the senatorial bets.

The Comelec resolution also claimed that he also committed an election offense when he authorized the release of government funds to air the show.

“Respondent (Morato), as co-host of ‘Dial M’, played a very important role during the May 10, 2010 elections. His comments could change the political set up and influence the outcome of the elections. We can’t simply ignore the impact of his comments to the electorates during the May 10, 2010 elections,” the poll body said in the resolution.  

In a Senate hearing in July 2011, Senator Franklin Drilon criticized Morato for using the show to promote the candidacy of Teodoro. Teodoro was the standard-bearer of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the party of then-President and now incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In defense, Morato told the senators that he was just forced to comment on the text messages which all favored Teodoro, but admitted that Teodoro was his candidate. – Rappler.com

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