Did the camp of Senator Jamby Madrigal engage in "subtle electioneering" during the funeral of former President Corazon Aquino or is she being targeted by a smear campaign?
While the nation tuned in to the live media coverage of Aquino's funeral on Wednesday, a user of Facebook posted a note on her account detailing how a street vendor gave her a yellow-beaded bracelet with the senator’s picture.
The note, posted by Happy Feraren, has since circulated among users of Facebook, a social networking site that is very popular among young Filipinos. Over 300 users posted comments directly on the specific note. Some users reposted the note on their own walls.
Jamby’s office denies distributing bracelets
Reached for comment, a staff member of the office of Senator Madrigal denied that they were the ones who distributed the bracelets. "We don’t have that (referring to the bracelets). I was with the senator [last Wednesday]. We were not distributing any bracelets," said Nora Deuna, media officer of Senator Madrigal.
She said she believes that the issue was a mere smear campaign against the lady senator. She added that they have "no idea" who might be behind move.
Deuna also pointed out that the bracelets allegedly distributed last Wednesday were different from those Jamby's campaigners distributed when she was campaigning for senator. "That was a swarovski bracelet."
Feraren, for her part, said she did not personally see the Senator or her staff distributing the bracelets.
When Abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak contacted her over the phone to confirm the incident and to get her permission to publish the account, Feraren stressed that "I am not here to fight Jamby. It’s not about her, nor me. It’s about what people can do and the legacy of Cory that we, the people, have to protect by being vanguards of democracy."
She said she just wanted to highlight that, following the spirit of people power, "people should be vigilant" about such matters.
In her blog post, she wrote, "now that we’ve remembered, relived and recreated the spirit of ’86 let’s make sure this yellow ribbon doesn’t get tangled up in other people’s political campaigns."
Given by a vendor
Feraren wrote that while buying yellow umbrellas, the street vendor gave them "a yellow-beaded bracelet nicely packed in a small clear plastic bag." On close inspection, Feraren realized that the bracelet has a little tag with a photo and name of the senator.
"I called out to him (vendor) and asked, 'O, bakit may Jamby Madrigal itong bracelet na ito?' And when I looked at the vendor for an answer, he had already walked away," Feraren wrote.
The photo of the senator was the same photo she used for her campaign materials during her first unsuccessful senatorial campaign in 2001.
Feraren further narrated that after an hour or so, she saw Madrigal inside her car "flashing the 'L' sign, and strangely enough, a cameraman in front filming the people."
Madrigal proclaimed last July 31 her plan to run for the presidency in a press conference in Makati.
Former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla, an ally of presidential aspirant Manuel Villar, criticized the move, likening her to nuisance candidates Eddie Gil and Atty. Ely Pamatong.