By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Election watchdog group Kontra Daya called on state university (SUC) students, teachers, and school administrators to not allow the use of public funds and resources for partisan political activities during the campaign period.
The group made the statement following reports that a peace congress held in Bocaue, Bulacan on February 15 was used to promote the candidacy of former presidential aide and senatorial bet Bong Go.
During the peace congress, a message by Go, who was the guest of honor and speaker, was read by actor Cesar Montano, said The Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Office of the Student Regent in a Facebook post.
Freddie Aguilar, another administration-backed senatorial candidate, also performed during the event.
As per a report by the Philippine News Agency, about 30,000 government officials, religious leaders, journalists, students and teachers from SUCs in Central Luzon attended the event.
But several groups claimed that students were mandated to attend and were told that they would be given incentives.
The PUP Office of the Student Regent said the peace congress was endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education (ChED).
“The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should look into how the Peace Congress was transformed into a campaign platform for Duterte-backed senatorial candidates,” Kontra Daya’s statement read.
“Whether or not these candidates would be physically present at the event, the fact that they are included in the program, their messages are read and their names mentioned as candidates, are already violations.”
The group said the event was an election offense listed in Article XXII, Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, which prohibits the “[u]se of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign.”
The organizations, government agencies, and school administration officials involved in setting up the event should also be investigated by the Comelec, the group said.