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United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate Ernesto Maceda said there was no actual violation of election laws since he canceled the raffle he initiated early this week.
"When I was reminded by Cong. [Amado] Bagatsing that it's not allowed... we did not continue. We stopped it. There was no actual money paid out," Maceda told GMA News in a report aired over GMA News' 24 Oras on Wednesday night.
He issued the statement after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will ask him to explain the raffle he held during the Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Kaunlaran (Kabaka) meeting in Pandacan, Manila on February 26.
Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code defines vote-buying as “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.”
During the Kabaka meeting last Tuesday, Maceda suddenly thought of initiating a mini raffle.
"Para masaya tayo ngayong hapon, para madagdagan ang inyong kasiyahan ako po ay magpaparaffle ng kaunti. Ang premyo po limang daang piso," he said in the exclusive video obtained by GMA News.
But before the first winner could get her prize, Manila 5th District Rep. Amado Bagatsing whispered something to Maceda and he immediately stopped the raffle.
"I was thinking that to enligten the very early afternon, people who were sleeping, we might hold a raffle but I stopped in time because I ws reminded that it is not allowed," said Maceda.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said they will still have to look into the matter.
"Initially there appears to be something wrong... it is a ground for us to investigate further the details," Brillantes told reporters on Wednesday.
In the meantime, he advised candidates not to resort to any similar stunts in the future.
"Huwag na sila sanang gumagawa ng gimik gimik. Huwag na sila magpakita ng pera 'wag na sila mag-announce ng raffle kasi hindi naman dapat," he said.
Another candidate, Liberal Party senatorial bet Jamby Madrigal, is in hot water with the Comelec for holding an online contest with an iPad as prize.
Madrigal's camp has already apologized, saying the senatorial hopeful's social media campaign was being run by young volunteers and that when Madrigal heard about the contest, she immediately ordered to stop it.
The poll body gave her until Thursday to submit a formal explanation. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News