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Public funds used to boost Mar-Leni campaign?

SENATOR Francis Escudero has accused the administration of blatantly using public funds and government resources to boost the campaign of Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II and his running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.

Escudero said the latest proof of this is the move of the Commission on Elections allowing the Aquino government’s “Daang Matuwid” slogan to be the nicknames of both Roxas and Robredo in the official ballot.

“One cannot deny that in all the programs and projects of the government, one will see the Daang Matuwid slogan. How can that be the nickname of two people who happen to be running under the same party? Surely, that was not their nickname growing up,” said Escudero, the lone vice presidential candidate in the May 9 polls.

“This clearly shows that they are using and taking advantage of the programs and projects of the government that bear the Daang Matuwid slogan. They are unethically and illegally riding on these projects that are funded by public funds,” the veteran lawmaker added.

Escudero also laughed off attempts to turn the tables on his running mate, Senator Grace Poe, who was accused by senatorial candidate Greco Belgica of vote buying.
    
“If they want to have Senator  Grace investigated, then they should ask Comelec to do the same. It’s just funny -- the timing and the attempt to drag Senator Grace into this,” he said.
    
“Several allegations and evidence have been presented against the Liberal Party over the use of government machinery and funds -- crimes that are worse than vote buying. How come he is not raising a howl over these?” Escudero added.
    
The Liberal Party was earlier accused of forcing beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer to attend administration sorties. Local supporters of Roxas in North Cotabato were also caught on video distributing envelops, presumed to contain money, to ensure that people in the audience will shout “Oras Na, Roxas Na” louder during the actual sortie.
    
“Besides, who attends turnover ceremonies of government projects? It is the candidates of the Liberal Party,” Escudero added.
    
An election watchdog earlier accused the Comelec of “grave abuse of discretion” when the poll body allowed “Daang Matuwid” to appear as nicknames of Roxas and Robredo.
    
Kontra Daya convenor Danny Arao asked the Comelec to take down all government-paid billboards and other paraphernalia bearing the slogan “Daang Matuwid”, stressing that these are now considered as “illegal campaign materials.”