Comelec to look into Kris Aquino's use of pres'l chopper

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Law Department is now looking into the controversial picture of actress and Presidential sister Kris Aquino supposedly using the presidential chopper to attend a sortie of Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas.

This was confirmed by Comelec spokesman James Jimenez on Thursday, after the actress drew flak for allegedly using government property in campaigning.

READ: Kris Aquino campaigns for Roxas-Robredo

Jimenez, however, refused to comment on the issue, saying the circumstances behind the picture have yet to be determined.

"Yung report sa amin nun lahat ang daan sa social media. No one actually filed a complaint. The pictures were taken from a photo set that was from an official local government source. Then yung photo set kung makikita mo ng kumpleto. Apparently official na byahe na may kasamang iba pang tao. Hindi lang si Kris Aquino, in other words. So if anything, mukhang pasahero si Kris Aquino na sumama lang doon sa event na yon,'' Jimenez said.

"Ine-evaluate ngayon ng Law Department namin. I'd like to emphasize: these are just pictures. It's very easy to take out of context and second hindi natin alam kung bakit nandoon si Kris Aquino at kung bakit sya sumama. Hindi ko alam kung sino yung nasa entourage ng President or even the itinerary. These are the things that we need to look into before we make a decision. Hindi kasi tayo mag-snap judgment eh."

Photos posted on the official Facebook page of Dalaguete, Cebu show Mr. Aquino and his sister arriving at the Casay Airstrip via choppers with the presidential seal on Tuesday. The photos have gone viral after being reposted in other Facebook groups and pages.

The President made the rounds in Visayas on Wednesday. He was in San Carlos City in Negros Occidental to inaugurate a solar power plant before heading to Cebu to meet with local candidates and to make a pitch for LP bets Roxas and Leni Robredo.

Most of the comments on social media slammed the actress for using presidential choppers for campaigning. They say this is wasteful use of taxpayers' money.

Kabataan Party-list Representative Terry Ridon said the actress' use of the chopper for campaigning is illegal.

"The photos clearly have no other explanation but the brazen use of government machinery to further the campaign of Mar Roxas," Ridon said in a statement.

But MalacaƱang defended the Aquino siblings' use of choppers.

In a text message, Palace Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said: "Members of the President's immediate family are allowed to ride with him in official government vehicles." 

Palace officials earlier said public funds will not be used for partisan activities.

"May sariling pondo ang partido, ang koalisyon ay mayroon sariling logistics, and the President will only use what is required for his position," Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said back in February. - with Rachel Hermosura, ABS-CBN News