2022 Philippine Elections

WATCH: Envelopes of P500 distributed after Marcos Jr.’s Nueva Ecija rally?

Lian Buan
WATCH: Envelopes of P500 distributed after Marcos Jr.’s Nueva Ecija rally?
(1st UPDATE) Rappler inspects two envelopes and finds P500 bills inside. The Marcos camp denies knowledge of the distribution caught by news cameras.

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines – News cameras caught the distribution of white envelopes on Tuesday, March 15, after a Marcos-Duterte campaign rally at the governor’s compound here.

Rappler inspected two of these envelopes and found P500 bills inside. Other news outlets, such as GMA News and CNN Philippines, also reported on the distribution of envelopes containing cash.

Watch Rappler’s video below:

WATCH: Envelopes of P500 distributed after Marcos Jr.’s Nueva Ecija rally?

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, his running mate Mayor Sara Duterte, and several Uniteam senatorial bets held a mini-rally at Barangay Soledad in Santa Rosa, where they were hosted by Governor Aurelio Umali. Before Uniteam, Umali’s local slate campaigned as well.

When the candidates left the vicinity, attendees lined up and were given white envelopes.

Marcos’ campaign manager Benhur Abalos said: “We have no knowledge of the incident. It would be hard to comment on something we are not aware of.”

Thompson Lantion, secretary-general of Marcos’ Partido Federal, said they also know nothing about the distribution of envelopes. “Negative po! Our PFP is a disciplined political party! We abhor such action! It is not within our core values and principles!” Lantion told Rappler in a message.

Umali explained two days later, on Thursday, March 17, that it was part of the local government’s financial assistance program, and it just coincided with the rally of Marcos and Duterte. 

WATCH: Envelopes of P500 distributed after Marcos Jr.’s Nueva Ecija rally?

In Marcos’ speech at the Santa Rosa event, he seemed to be aware that there will be a “payout” distribution. Nueva Ecija residents have commented on social media that it was ayuda (aid) from the governor.

Marcos said: “Biglaan tayong nagkaroon ng rally, eh wala namang rally pero natapat ang aming pagdating dito sa distribution ninyo na ginawa ngayon. Mabuti na lang ay naabutan pa namin kayo para naman tayo ay makapag-usap.” (We suddenly had a rally, we weren’t supposed to have, but our arrival coincided with your distribution today. It’s good we caught you so we can talk.)

Many attendees were wearing Uniteam red and green shirts.

“Alam ‘nyo po, kaya tayo nagkakaganito, kaya mayroon tayong payout na ganito, dahil sa pangangailangan ng taumbayan, ninyo, ng aming mga kababayan, dahil dito sa nangyari, dito sa pandemya, ‘yung ekonomiya, na nahirapan… Ang aming hangarin sa Uniteam, matigil na ang payout at imbes na payout ay trabaho na ang maibibigay natin,” said Marcos.

(The reason why we are like this, why we have payouts like this, is because of the need of the people, our countrymen, because of what happened, because of the pandemic, our economy, we struggled. Our wish in Uniteam is to stop this payout, and instead of payouts we will give you jobs.)

WATCH: Envelopes of P500 distributed after Marcos Jr.’s Nueva Ecija rally?

Members of the media tried to ask Marcos about it on Wednesday, March 16, during a virtual Kapihan forum but that question was not asked by the moderator. Reporters can only put their questions in the Zoom Q and A box and wait for it to be asked, if at all.

The Omnibus Election Code prohibits “any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise or grant, public or private, or makes or offers to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.”

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Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.