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Jamby personally apologizes to Comelec over online contest

Senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal on Thursday went to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Manila to personally apologize for her online contest that the poll body is currently investigating for possible campaign violation. In her letter filed with the Comelec's legal department, Madrigal urged the poll body that before it decides whether or not to slap her with an election case, it should first look into the nature of the contest and similar activities conducted over social media. “The social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are recent developments and innovations in the field of information technology and our election laws, which were enacted before the advent of social media, could not have possibly contemplated situations like the said contest and activities, much less made them punishable,” she said in her letter. “[M]ay I further respectfully request the Honorable Commission to first look into the circumstances surrounding the said contest and its peculiarities,” she added. In response, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., at a briefing, said the issue raised by Madrigal  is well covered by the Omnibus Election Code. “Anything that involves propaganda is part of the election laws. Nandoon naman 'yun even under the Omnibus Election Code long before [social media],” Brillantes said. “In-anticipate nu’n that there will be improvements in science [and] technology,” he added. He also said the poll body will have to wait for its legal department’s recommendations based on Madrigal’s response if charges should be filed against her. No idea about contest Madrigal, a former senator and presidential candidate, in apologizing for the controversial online contest that had an iPad as a prize, said she had no idea about the contest until it was pointed out to her by the media. The contest has since been scrapped. “[P]lease allow me to take this opportunity to formally convey my apology to the Honorable Commission. With all honesty and candor, I really did not know of the said contest until my attention was called to it by members of the media,” she said. “However, I am nonetheless conveying my apology to the Honorable Commission if the said contest was perceived as a possible violation of our election laws or resolutions issued by the Honorable Commission,” she added. Madrigal said the contest was organized by her volunteers, whom she said she will not compromise “no matter what happens.” “There were suggestions made for me to just simply name my volunteers who managed and ran my Facebook and Twitter accounts and thus, clear my name and spare myself of this controversy and possible disqualification and charges,” Madrigal said. “With all due respect, I cannot possible do that and I will not do that no matter what happens.” — Gian C. Geronimo/KBK, GMA News