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Should excess donations be returned? Isko lone bet to say no

Except for Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, all presidential candidates who appeared during Sunday's televised presidential debate agreed that excess donations should be returned.

By raising their hands, the eight other presidential candidates present during CNN Philippines' The Filipino Votes Presidential Debate — Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, labor leader Leody de Guzman, former Defense chief Norberto Gonzales, businessman Faisal Mangondato, former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella and Dr. Jose Montemayor Jr. — agreed that excess campaign funds should be returned.

Justifying his stand, Moreno said: "Because I have to be fair with the Filipino people. Hindi ako nagsoli ng binigay sa akin na tulong sa kampanya na sobra, pero tinupad ko ang aking tungkulin bilang mamayan na magbayad ng buwis."

"That's why wala akong moral ascendancy to answer the question in favor," he added.

Moreno also called on future senators and congressmen to pass a law regarding unused campaign funds.

But Montemayor Jr. asked Moreno if he will return the supposed $15 million donation by Bill Gates. "Eh paano naman po yung 50 million dollars na binigay ni Bill Gates, isosoli niyo po ba yun? 15 million dollars that were donated to Mayor Isko as I read in the papers."

In response, Moreno showed a receipt from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

"What I'm saying is there is no such thing as $15 million. It is prohibited by law," he said.  "It's not true, I don't know where did you get it. "

"What papers? Well, I beg to disagree with the gentleman with the doctor there is no such thing and we will be honest," he added.

"I'm satisfied," Montemayor later said, to which Moreno replied: "Salamat naman po."

Moreno earlier said he "saved" P50 million from the donations during his campaign as a senatorial candidate in 2016.

He disclosed before that he had paid P9.7 million in taxes for it. — Joahna Lei Casilao/RSJ, GMA News