LP bet in hot water over online contest

By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2013 04:30 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2013 03:44 AM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - A senatorial candidate of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) slate is now under investigation for possible illegal campaign activities.

Commission on Elections Chairman Atty Sixto Brillantes said the candidate has been using social media accounts in Twitter and Facebook to give away prizes to lure voters.

"May pa contest, pag nanalo bibigyan ka ng iPad," he said.

The Comelec chairman refused to name the candidate and merely hopes that his pronouncement will serve as a warning.

"It will fall under illegal campaigning. Pwedeng pwede sya madisqualify," he said.

The game, he said, is a fill-in-the-blank type of contest where the voters would simply add a statement to the online question of "corruption is bad because...?"

This is similar to a promo posted on senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal's Twitter account.

The promo, which was removed from Madrigal's official Facebook account as of 4 pm Tuesday, said a person can win a free iPad if they like Jamby's Facebook fan page and then complete the sentence "Corruption is bad because..."

Speaking to ANC, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez confirmed receiving that the poll body's social media monitoring team received the image about the online contest but would not confirm if it was the same one being referred to by Brillantes.

Asked if the promo violates Comelec rules, he said: "Well it's not the vote for me aspect that would be problematic with this particular image. It's the idea that a contest or game is being staged in support of the candidate. Under the Omnibus Election Code, it is wrong to stage contests that will offer prizes to support a candidate. That is what this ad is purporting to do."

He said the contest is attached to a "fan page which is being maintained by the candidate."

Brillantes said the poll body is now studying the possibility of filing charges against the candidate.