MANILA, Philippines - Police officers at the Pintuyan town precinct in Southern Leyte reportedly received envelopes containing P500 bills that mayoral candidate Rustico Estrella reportedly distributed at 8 a.m. on May 8, according to reports that reached Rappler.
In an interview with Rappler on Saturday, May 11, Pintuyan lawyer Eva Tomol said Estrella started the cash distribution by announcing, “I have something to make you happy from Oging, Mian and Berting!”
"Oging" is the well-known nickname of Roger Mercado, the incumbent congressman of Southern Leyte who is running for governor under the National Unity Party (NUP) in the 2013 mid-term elections.
“Oging Mercado” is how his name will appear in the ballot.
"Mian" is the nickname of Damian Mercado, brother of "Oging" and current governor of Southern Leyte. He is running for a congressional seat under NUP.
"Berting" is the moniker of Dr. Roberto Lagumbay, an incumbent Sangguniang Panlalawigan member running for Southern Leyte vice-governor in the 2013 elections.
Tomol received this information from a police officer present during the distribution. He added that the envelopes were labelled “Oging” and “Mian.”
Photo courtesy of Eva Tomol
At 5:40 p.m. on May 11, Tomol also reported that a teacher named Melchor Diong approached former Southern Leyte Gov. Rosette Lerias to show her two envelopes he received from a barangay official.
The envelopes had his and his mother’s name on it. Inside each envelope contained a P500 bill.
Earlier that day at 2 p.m., Barangay Councilor Evelyn Pedrera walked into Lerias’ house crying and carrying 15 envelopes.
She had been asked to distribute them but Tomol says her conscience could not stomach the instructions. Each envelope is labelled with a name of a voter in the area. - Rappler.com
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Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.