Inquirer.net : Comelec on alleged distribution of money during Marcos rally: We need complainants

17 March 2022

By John Eric Mendoza | Inquirer.net

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) appeared not ready to accept as sole evidence a mere video of supporters of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. receiving money after their campaign rally in Nueva Ecija, saying there has to be a proper complaint before any investigation could be mounted.

Several news outlets reported the distribution of white envelopes containing P500 bills to the attendees of a campaign rally for the Uniteam standard-bearer and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio last Tuesday.

The reports of cash distribution in the Marcos-Duterte rally came under a firestorm of criticism from different groups and social media users.

But Comelec Commissioner George Garcia on Thursday said that the poll body cannot act on a mere video, and that they are waiting for complainants to come out.

“In cases like this, it is part of any investigation that before we formally conduct… there is a need to have complaints,” Garcia said in a press briefing at the Comelec office in Manila.

Garcia also gave assurance that “if they (organizers) were found to have faults, we will definitely prosecute.”

The veteran election lawyer also appealed to the public not to jump to conclusions, saying there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

It can be recalled that Garcia defended Marcos in his protest against Vice President Leni Robredo before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Marcos and Robredo are not again facing off in the May 9 polls, this time for the presidency.