Binay warns gov’t workers using anti-poverty fund to buy votes for LP

Mara Cepeda
Binay warns gov’t workers using anti-poverty fund to buy votes for LP

John Jerome E. Ganzon

The UNA standard-bearer says his camp will sue any government worker caught electioneering

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday, February 15, made a warning to government personnel who are reportedly using the social welfare department’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to buy votes for Liberal Party (LP) candidates.

“Kaya lalung-lalo na ‘yung mga namimigay ng sa 4Ps, kayo pag nahuli-huli namin kayo eh ihahabla ko kayo, kasi electioneering ‘yan,” said the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer at a sortie in Barangay 178, Maricaban in Pasay.

(Those who are buying votes through the 4Ps, we will charge you if we catch you because that’s electioneering.)

UNA already accused LP of buying votes through the Aquino administration’s flagship poverty allevation program.

Another presidential candidate, Rodrigo Duterte, has criticized the LP and its standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II for using another program – the bottom-up budgeting – to buy votes for the administration bet. (READ: Roxas to barangay officials: P1,000 per Filipino in community projects)

4Ps will continue under Binay

In his recent sortie speehes, Binay dispelled rumors, supposedly being spread by the LP, that the 4Ps will be discontinued if he is elected as president.

“Anong klaseng pulitika? Marumi pong pulitika, dahil nagsasabi sila ng kasinungalingan,” said Binay, who resigned from the Aquino Cabinet for its alleged “crook, failed” governance(What kind of politics is that? Dirty politics, because they are telling lies.)

The Vice President told the small crowd of about 200 in the Pasay covered court that he would instead move to expand the 4Ps to include 60- to 64-year-olds among the beneficiaries. 

He also promised to provide free school supplies and uniforms to 20 million students, free healthcare for all, and to end income tax for workers earning P30,000 and below.

Bottom-up budgeting, too

This is not the first time the administration party has been accused of vote-buying through its anti-poverty program.

In 2013, some LP bets allegedly used the 4Ps for electioneering.

UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan, as well as Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, recently said the LP is using the Bottom-Up Budgetting (BUB) program to convince the public to vote for Roxas.

Roxas on February 11 told a crowd of over 1,000 barangay leaders said that funding for community-chosen projects would reach P1,000 ($21)* per constituent, or P100 billion ($2.1 billion) for all barangays in the Philippines.

LP’s senatorial bets defended the BUB and dismissed Duterte’s allegation as a “demolition job.” – Rappler.com 

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.