Why did Aksyon Demokratiko give P500 raffle prizes in Nueva Ecija sortie?

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2021 08:50 AM

SAN ISIDRO, Nueva Ecija - Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial aspirants on Wednesday gave P10,000 in prizes to some Novo Ecijanos who attended the party's gathering in this town, the third stop of their listening tour in Nueva Ecija.

About 20 participants who were able to answer trivia questions about party standard bearer and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, vice presidential bet Willie Ong and Aksyon's 3 senatorial candidates were rewarded P500 each.

This is not vote buying, Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial aspirant Carl Balita clarified after the program.

"Walang vote buying. It's just a raffle kind of thing kasi entertainment kasi na-drag yung program," he told ABS-CBN News.

(There is no vote buying. It's just a raffle kind of thing, a form of entertainment because the program was dragged.)

"It's a reward for a game... Maski naman bata kailangan may premyo (even children want prizes)," he said.

The listening tour held at the JF Sports Complex was supposed to start at 3 p.m., but only began about an hour and a half later as the slate's previous engagements in the province ended late.

About 2 hours into the program, Domagoso was still not in the venue. Several sources told ABS-CBN News that he had a meeting with local officials who would potentially endorse their slate in the 2022 national elections.

"This is the first time may game kami (that we had a game)," Aksyon senatorial bet Samira Gutoc said.

"This might have been a deviant activity, but it brought the audience to wait until the evening," she said.

After the trivia game, senatorial aspirants asked the crowd for policy suggestions while waiting for their standard bearer to arrive.

Among issues Novo Ecijanos hope to address include benefits for solo parents, criminality, and corruption in police force.

Aksyon Demokratiko did not commit any election violation, said Jopet Sison, one of the party's senatorial candidates, who co-hosted decades-long legal TV show "Ipaglaban Mo."

"The rules of Comelec (Commission on Elections) will set in at the start of the campaign period so wala pa tayo sa campaign period so hindi pa yan pinapagbawal," he said, when asked about the giving of prizes during sorties.

(The rules of Commission on Elections will set in at the start of the campaign period since we are not yet in the campaign period, that is not yet prohibited.)

"During the campaign period, bawal yun, so hindi namin gagawin," he said.

(That's not allowed during the campaign period so we will not do that anymore by then.)

Presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao earlier drew flak for handing out P1,000 in cash to those who attended his pre-campaign gatherings in several provinces.

Pacquiao said selling votes would cost the country its future, but his camp added that the boxer-senator would continue giving away cash ahead of 2022 elections, noting that the fund was from the lawmaker's own money.

When asked if Aksyon Demokratiko would hold another cash raffle or game in other legs of its "listening tour," Balita said: "I don't think we'll do it again."

"Ayoko na male-late ulit si Yorme para hindi na kami magstre-strech," he said, laughing.

(I don't want the mayor to be late again so that we don't need to stretch the program.)