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Commission on Election chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the poll body's law department has submitted its recommendation on the issue about the controversial online contest, with an IPad as prize, allegedly held by senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal.
“May rekomendasyon na ang law department pero hindi ko pa rin pwedeng sabihin,” Brillantes said, adding that he wanted to clarify first some parts of the recommendation.
“Procedural lang, may konting issue sa procedural,” he said.
In a separate interview, law department head lawyer Esmeralda Amora –Ladra, also refused to discuss it.
Asked on her department’s recommendation, Ladra said “not now.”
Brillantes said the en banc will have to discuss the recommendation but as of March 27, they have yet to tackle it.
“Hindi pinag-uusapan sa en banc ang decision making. Sandali lang yun (pag-usapan),” he said when asked after their meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Twitter, Facebook contest
On February 15, the Comelec education and information department received a report that Madrigal was allegedly holding a contest through Facebook and Twitter and promised to give an iPad to the winner. The report was forwarded to the law department which, in turn, conducted the investigation.
Madrigal’s camp admitted that the contest was held and it was initiated by her supporters. The former senator later apologized for the holding of the contest.
The law department on February 25, sent Madrigal a letter asking her to formally explain her side. Three days later, Madrigal went to the Comelec to apologize for the contest and submit her explanation. Omnibus election code
The Comelec earlier said Madrigal could be held liable for the violation of Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code on vote-buying and vote-selling and Section 7 of Resolution 9616, implementing Section 97 of OEC, which prohibits holding of games for support of any candidate.
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 candidatein a convention or similar selection process of a political party.”
Vote-selling, meanwhile, is “any person, association, corporation, group or community who solicits or receives, directly or indirectly, any expenditure or promise of any office or employment, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations.”
While Section 97 of the Omnibus Election Code states that "it shall be unlawful for any person to hold dances, lotteries, cockfights, games, boxing bouts, bingo, beauty contests, entertainments, or cinematographic, theatrical or other performances for the purpose of raising funds for an election campaign or for the support of any candidate from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day."
It also states that it shall be unlawful "for any person or organization, whether civic or religious, directly or indirectly, to solicit and/or accept from any candidate for public office, or from his campaign manager, agent or representative, or any person acting in their behalf, any gift, food, transportation, contribution or donation in cash or in kind from the commencement of the election period up to and including election day." - VVP, GMA News