MANILA - Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio "Oyie" Umali said Thursday that provincial officials were distributing financial aid at his house while the tandem of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio were holding a rally earlier this week.
Multiple news reports featured videos of people attending the UniTeam rally at Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija on Tuesday being given white envelopes filled with money.
But Umali claimed on Facebook that the provincial government was giving out money that time as financial aid to residents.
"Noong bumisita po dito sa bahay ko si Senator Bongbong Marcos and Mayor Inday Sara, ay naka-schedule na po yung aming pamimigay ng financial assistance sa atin pong mga kababayan. Dalawang barangay po naka-schedule," he said.
The governor added that the cash distribution at his compound was supposed to have finished before the UniTeam came, but some of senatorial candidates arrived early.
"Somebody arrived at 9:00, 9:30, 10:00 and kami po naman, hindi namin pwede i-cancel yung amin pong pagtulong sa financial assistance kasi nga po ito ay bahagi ng ating tungkulin," he said.
According to Umali, the provincial government of Nueva Ecija was working to finish its distribution of financial aid before the start of the campaign period for local candidates on March 25, 2022.
Both the Marcos camp and Partido Federal ng Pilipinas have reportedly denied knowledge of the distribution.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections has said that it will wait for someone to file a complaint before it acts on the incident. This is despite the commission having the power to investigate election offenses by itself, according to its rules of procedure.