Palace defends PNoy sisters over Akbayan donations

Posted at 10/25/12 4:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang on Thursday defended the siblings of President Benigno Aquino III for contributing to the campaign of party-list group Akbayan last 2010.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the contributions were made as part of the democratic process.

"The sisters are, and continue up to this day as, private citizens. They have a right to contribute to a group they feel would also support the President's program of anti-corruption and poverty alleviation," he told Palace reporters.

Lacierda said it is not only the President's sisters who are supporting Akbayan. Being private citizens, they choose to support groups which are supportive of the advocacies of the President.

Lacierda called it "unfair" to take it against somebody who is well-known just because they support Akbayan's advocacy.

"If, for instance, Inquirer, the owners would support an environmental group, should we take it against the environmental group or the party list group that because Inquirer is supporting this particular group they should be disqualified?"

The presidential spokesman said it's not a question of who your supporters are, but a question of what you stand for.

Bayan Muna has a petition filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to disqualify Akbayan on the ground that the party has members already entrenched in government.

Lacierda doubts if the recent report will affect the petition.

"I think the Comelec has rules, irrespective of whoever donated to their campaign. The Comelec should apply the rules as how the lawmakers envisioned the party-list groups to be.”

Lacierda hit Bayan Muna for undermining the advocacy of representing the marginalized sector, such as the conditional cash transfer program.

"The national government invests on the poorest of the poor, educates them, requires the parents to seek maternal health, the moms to seek maternal healthcare, and the children to go to school. There is no intervention of politics or politicians in that Conditional Cash Transfer program.”