MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor and Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) campaign manager Sara Duterte weighed in on the latest controversy facing senatorial bet Bong Go – campaign T-shirts distributed at a government-sponsored event for barangay captains.
Duterte, on Tuesday, March 5, expressed confidence that Go would not have paid for the T-shirts with government funding.
The Davao City mayor, who included Go in her senatorial slate, said Go should show proof that no such funds were used for the shirts.
"I think it should be answered by the senatorial candidate Bong Go and he should provide details on the paper trail of the expenses for the t-shirts and I'm sure he can provide that," she told reporters on the sidelines of an HNP campaign rally in Antipolo City.
Opposition senatorial bet Gary Alejano earlier sent media documents showing that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) allowed the use of local funds for the registration fee and kits of barangay officials at the 1st Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas National Assembly. The kits allegedly included polo shirts with Bong Go's cartoonized face and logo.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the release of the campaign t-shirts during the event was not authorized by his department.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself prohibited the use of government funds in favor of any 2019 candidate.
The younger Duterte also said it's possible Go was "allowed" to put his T-shirts inside the event kit.
"Probably in-allow siya na mag-insert ng kanyang t-shirt doon but yung source ng funds, I can be very sure na hindi government," she said.
(Probably he was allowed to insert his t-shirt there but as to the source of funds, I can be very sure it was not government.)
Go denied even knowing about the T-shirts inside the kit.
“Wala po akong idea (about that), tanungin na lang po nila ang organizers. Pakiusap ko po sa lahat na huwag niyo gamitin pangalan ko without my knowledge and consent,” Go said.
(I have no idea about that, ask the organizers. My plea to everyone is not to use my name without my knowledge and consent.)
Mayor Duterte said Go, with all his years as her father's aide, would know about the rules prohibiting the use of public funds for a candidate's campaign.
"Of course, it's in our law that public funds can't be used to manufacture campaign materials so we know all that and I'm sure the senatorial candidates know that," she said. – Rappler.com
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 email@example.com.