MANILA (UPDATE) - Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto on Sunday denied that a campaign rally for Vice President Leni Robredo at the city hall quadrangle would push through later this month, saying the area is "not open for any political rally."
Sotto gave the statement in response to one of the campaign posters of Robredo's so-called "Payanig sa Pasig" which has gone viral since last week.
“Not true. Pasig City Hall premises, including quadrangle, are NOT open for any political rally," Sotto said in a tweet.
"Kahit mayor ang mag-apply, di bibigyan ng permit.”
(A permit will not be given even if it's the mayor who's applying.)
Sotto said campaign organizers have been advised to hold their events in plazas or open streets.
“We told those applying for a permit, try the plazas/open streets. They are the biggest spaces available, and open to all candidates," the mayor said.
During a February 28 speech, Sotto confirmed that Robredo's team has a "pending permit" to hold a rally in Pasig City.
"Hindi ko alam kung sa Rizal o sa Bonifacio," the mayor said referring to two of the city's public plazas.
(I'm not sure if it's in the Rizal or Bonifacio Plaza.)
But weeks after Sotto's speech, several supporters of the Vice President were told that Robredo's Pasig sortie will be held at the PhilSports Arena.
Days later, several promotional materials circulated on social media, informing Robredo's supporters that the "Payanig sa Pasig" has been moved to the city hall quadrangle on March 20 at 5 p.m.
ROBREDO CAMP SAYS VENUE 'TBA'
Hours after ABS-CBN News broke the story about Sotto's denial that a Robredo campaign event would be held in front of the city hall, new campaign materials circulated online, claiming that the new venue of the gathering would be along Emerald Avenue in Ortigas.
In a text message to ABS-CBN News Digital, the Office of the Vice President denied that they issued online invitations containing specific venues in Pasig City.
"That is not from the campaign [team]," said Barry Gutierrez, Robredo's spokesperson.
"There was no ‘initial campaign material’ that specified a venue -- to my knowledge, it was clearly stated that the venue was 'TBA (to be announced),'" he said.
Robredo's volunteers, who are organizing the Pasig event, "are currently coordinating with the local government to finalize the venue," the spokesperson said.
"They will officially announce as soon as that process is concluded," he said.
In December 2021, Pasig City issued its own memorandum prohibiting the "display or posting of posters, tarpaulins, ribbons, and other related materials for political campaign... unless expressly allowed by the city government."
Earlier this month, city councilor candidate Simon Romulo Tantoco - nephew of Sotto's mentor Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo - was reprimanded after several of his tarpaulins were posted inside the city hall.
"When my staff found out that Simon had tarps in the 7th floor, they were removed right away and he was reprimanded," Sotto told ABS-CBN News Digital in an earlier message.
Sotto - who is vying for re-election - has been conducting caucuses in communities with his "Giting ng Pasig" slate, but the mayor earlier said his tarpaulins and posters would only be posted when the local campaign period begins on March 25.