Presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao, known for his generosity to the poor, said that he would only stop giving out cash aid and relief packs once the campaign period starts in February 2022.
In a media interview during his visit to vote-rich Cebu, Pacquiao reiterated his earlier pronouncement that he has been charitable since he rose to fame. He made the statement when asked about the issue of vote buying supposedly through dole outs.
“Hindi pamimili ito – tulong talaga ito mula pa noon hanggang ngayon. Hihinto lang ito ‘pag start na ng campaigning on February 8. Habang wala pang campaign period, tulong lang tayo; maraming taong nagugutom,” said Pacquiao.
(This is not vote buying – I’ve been really helping out from way back until now. This will only stop when we start campaigning on February 8. While the campaign period has yet to start, we will continue helping out; lot of people are hungry.)
Under the law, Pacquiao would be liable for vote buying if he distributes cash during the campaign period that starts on February 8, 2022.
Asked whether he could keep up with the expenses of his generosity in the next three months, Pacquiao answered, “God always provides.”
“Noon pa ‘ko namimigay ng tulong sa ating mga kababayan dahil naaawa ako. Ramdam ko ang kanilang nararamdaman,” said the senator, whose rags-to-riches story inspired at least three films.
(I have been helping out our countrymen for a long time because I pity them. I feel whatever they are feeling.)
After he filed his candidacy for president, Pacquiao has been going around vote-rich provinces.
In the past two weeks, Pacquiao have given out P1,000 to some 7,000 Batangas residents who were affected by the Taal Volcano eruption. A thousand Dagupan fisherfolk also received from him P1,000 each and 10 kilograms of rice.
Pacquiao also handed over P200,000 to a Benguet couple who lost their children to landslide.
In a CNN Philippines’ The Source interview, Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez said that what Pacquiao has been doing is “wrong” in the context of the 2022 polls, but admitted that it is, at this point, not an election offense.
Pacquiao is the second richest senator with a net worth of almost P3.2 billion according to his 2020 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth. – Rappler.com
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