'Free iPad contest' legal, says Jamby's lawyer
MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – Senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal on Wednesday owned up to sponsoring an iPad raffle contest in her Facebook and Twitter pages and apologized to the Commission on Elections for any possible election offense.
“My Facebook, which is linked to my tweeter (sic) page is run by young volunteers and avid fans of my anti corruption advocacy. In their zeal to promote clean governance they saw nothing wrong with promoting the advocacy for anti corruption,” she said in a statement.
“I extend my apologies to the Comelec for what my youth volunteers may have done which the Comelec may perceive to be a violation of election rules,” she added.
Madrigal, an official candidate of the Team PNoy slate, said she immediately asked her volunteers to “remove the site” after Comelec cited the alleged violation of a senatorial candidate for sponsoring an iPad giveaway.
She said she gave strict instructions to the volunteers to be very vigilant in observing election rules and laws.
“I would like to assure everyone that this incident will not happen again,” she said.
Madrigal said she believes in a democratic and transparent way in administering social media, adding that this is the best way to interact with her fans and the public.
“As such my FB is open to all my volunteers and fans who join me in promoting the values of ‘tuwid na daan’ in fighting corruption and pushing for good governance,” she said.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes earlier urged Madrigal to stop the iPad raffle since it could be seen as violating Section 97 of the Omnibus Election Code.
A section of Section 97 reads: "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."
Jamby's 'free iPad contest' legal: lawyer
Madrigal's lawyer, Ernesto Francisco, said the senatorial candidate is sorry for the incident but maintains that she had no knowledge of the contest. He said Madrigal did not finance the iPads.
He said it was Madrigal's volunteers who posted the raffle in her official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Francisco said the senatorial candidate did not violate any election law.
"When Madrigal's attention was called, she immediately instructed her campaign team to ask volunteers to take out the online contest," Francisco told ANC on Wednesday.
He added that they are investigating how the online contest came about.
"It was a game, not an offer or promise of an iPad for participants to vote for her," he added.
He said they will reply to any legal complaint filed against Madridal.
"But there's no violation of any election law," Francisco said. "There was no enticement to vote for her. It's a fun game."
Brillantes: Jamby can't use supporters as defense
Brillantes Jr., in an interview with radio dzMM Wednesday night, said Madrigal can't use her supporters as a defense in the issue.
"Generally, hindi naman puwedeng depensa iyon," he said.
"Minimonitor kasi namin lahat. Galing sa Twitter at Facebook niya," he added. "Sa kanya iyung Twitter at Facebook (accounts) na iyon."
Brillantes said Comelec's lawyers are still studying the case.
"We're just checking kung tinigil na nga niya after we made the announcement yesterday," he said. "Kung tinigil na nga niya, we are still trying to study if we can pursue case against her."
"We are studying it. We can still pursue it," he added. "We referred this already to our law department."
Brillantes said the Comelec is trying to nip in the bud any attempt by candidates to either violate or circumvent election laws.
"We are very serious," he said. -- with reports from ANC; Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNnews.com