MANILA - Candidates in May's midterm polls should not use government resources, election watchdog Kontra Daya said Tuesday as the campaign period for Senate aspirants kicked off.
"Kontra Daya challenges all candidates not to use government funds and resources as they officially start reaching out to get much-needed votes," the group said in a statement.
The group also questioned President Rodrigo Duterte's endorsement of some candidates by raising their hands or "going out of his way to accompany favored ones" like his former aide Christoper Go.
Duterte accompanied Go when he filed his certificate of candidacy in October last year.
"While President Rodrigo Duterte appears to be calling on his Cabinet members not to campaign for any candidate, we still question why he himself chooses to do so," said Kontra Daya.
The watchdog also questioned the Philippine National Police's invitation for Go to serve as guest of honor at an event on Monday, during which he gave a speech, met with hundreds of college students and had a press conference inside Camp Crame.
Kontra Daya said finds the timing of the event "suspicious" as it is held a day before the actual campaign.
"If the PNP is indeed neutral, why did it invite a declared senatorial candidate like Go as guest of honor, even if a high-ranking police official was quoted as saying that Go is chairperson of the Association of Chief of Police of the Philippines Inc.(ACCPI)?" it added.
Kontra Daya urged government agencies to remove propaganda materials and prohibit candidates from using government resources in their campaigns.
A Commission on Election resolution prohibits the posting, displaying and exhibiting of any campaign material in public places like "schools, public shrines, barangay halls, government offices, health centers, public structures and buildings or any edifice thereof," the group noted.
Kontra Daya also called on the public to be vigilant now that the campaign period has started.
"It is important, more than ever, to analyze what the candidates say, as well as what they choose not to say, identifying not just those they are willing to disclose but more importantly those that they choose to hide," it said.
Candidates' use of public funds and resources may be reported with accompanying photos or documents through the social media pages of Kontra Daya, it said.