Poe, Escudero to reveal campaign plane owners after elections

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – The tandem of senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero on Tuesday, February 16, said they would reveal the owners of the private planes they use in their campaign in their Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) after the elections.

Poe said the planes they use are either rented or are lent to them by friends.

“'Yung sa amin may iba na nirerentahan 'yung aming sinasakyan, 'yung iba nagpapahiram na kaibigan. Iba't ibang kompanya, indibidwal...lahat naman 'yan ay ilalagay sa SOCE,” Poe said in a press conference in the city.

(The planes we use, there are some that we rent, some are being lent by friends. Different companies, individuals. We will declare all of that in our SOCE.)

The presidential bet explained they could not reveal names yet to avoid releasing inaccurate information of people and companies.

“Ang mga eroplano na 'yun, magpakatotoo na tayo – ang laki ng ating bansa sa pag-iikot. Ngayon, nakalista 'yan sa iba’t ibang company. Hindi lang iisang tao ang ilalabas namin kasi baka may mabanggit ako, hindi naman pala nakalista sa kumpanya na 'yun,” Poe said.

(Those airplanes, let's be realistic – our country is too big to visit. Now, the airplanes are registered in different companies. We will not release a single name because I might mention a name and it turns out the plane is not registered in that company.)

Despite this, Poe vowed that, when she becomes president, she would not give special treatment to those lending her multi-million private planes now.

Earlier, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte accused administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II of protecting the mining operations of Eric Gutierrez, who owns the planes Roxas uses in his campaign.

Roxas and his camp said the planes are all leased and that no government funds were used.

(I can assure you that when it is revealed in the SOCE, you can check if there were extra favors given. You can be sure these are legitimate companies that are not involved in irregularities, especially in environment.)

Not satisfied with Roxas' answers

Escudero, for his part, was not satisfied with Roxas' answers, citing the rules of the Commission on Elections. 

“Kung umamin man si Secretary Roxas, p'wede at legal ba 'yun sa ilalim ng batas kung meron tinanggap na prangkisa o may tinanggap na pabor sa pamahalaan o heavily regulated 'yung nagbibigay at nagpapahiram sa kanya ng eroplano? Dahil sang-ayon sa Comelec rules (ay) bawal 'yun,” Escudero said.

(If Secretary Roxas did admit, is it allowed and legal under the law for someone who received a franchise from the government or a heavily regulated entity provide and lend him airplanes? Because that is prohibited, according to Comelec rules.)

Section 95 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits candidates from receiving campaign donation from the following:

Roxas maintained there were no special favors in the use of the private planes and called on other candidates to disclose expenses and plane owners' names. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com