MANILA – Team PNoy senatorial bet Jamby Madrigal on Thursday denied that she is using her own volunteers as scapegoats after she was caught offering an iPad in exchange for Facebook likes and engagement.
Madrigal confirmed the online contest came out in her Facebook and Twitter accounts but maintained that the accounts are managed by volunteers.
“Lilinawin ko lang po na hindi ko ginagamit ang mga volunteers ko na panakip butas, kaya po ako ang humaharap sa inyo ngayon dito para po proteksyunan sila. They volunteered to help my campaign, no harm was intended, malaki po ang utang na loob ko sa kanila kaya hindi ko hahayaan na madawit sila dito, kawawa naman po sila,” she told the Commission on Elections.
Asked if she is still willing to give away iPads, she replied: “Ayoko mangako, baka ma-charge po ako ng Comelec ng vote buying! But seriously, it would be a good project to provide public school students with an iPad or any tablet. I believe it would level the playing field in terms of access to information and self expression.”
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Brillantes urged Madrigal to stop the iPad raffle since it could be seen as violating Section 97 of the Omnibus Election Code. In the raffle, contestants are asked to complete the statement: "Corruption is bad because...?"
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial bet Mitos Magsaysay, meanwhile, twitted Madrigal for passing on the blame of the online contest to volunteers. “Hindi niya puwedeng ipakasalanan sa youth sector niya ang isyu ng iPad, siya ang nagtweet nun,” she said in a news report.
Madrigal told Comelec she learned 2 things from the experience: that people are enraged by corruption and that a lot of young people want an iPad.
She said the online contest received hundreds of entries, all saying why people think corruption is bad.
“Para sa akin maganda ang epekto nito dahil madami ang mulat na ang mata at walang takot magsalita laban sa corruption. This is a good indication of political maturity,” she said in a statement.
She also said she felt the clamor of young people for access to information.
“Naramdaman ko din ang clamor hindi lang ng kabatan para sa isang powerful gadget, but I think it’s more than the gadget kundi yung clamor nila to access information. Ngayon ko lang po naisip ng husto ang importansya nito, I used to considered the iPad as another gadget pero looking at it deeply, this is such a powerful tool, kung meron kang iPad or any tablet you can access any information na na-a-access ng mga mayayaman,” she said.
“This incident opened my eyes. Nakita ko yung pagkagutom sa impormasyon, ‘yung hunger for learning and hunger for self expression,” she added.