Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesman and the lead organizer of the sortie in General Trias, Cavite denied that thousands of her supporters were paid to attend the grand rally that drew more than 47,000 people.
Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez criticized unnamed politicians who were so used to traditional campaigning that they thought the only way for a campaign rally to draw tens of thousands of supporters was through the “hakot” system, or the practice of paying off people to go to rallies.
Cavite Board Member Kerby Javier Salazar, the organizer of the said rally, also denounced the claims that the volunteers and supporters were paid.
In a tweet, he named Senator Panfilo Lacson and Cavite Rep. Boying Remulla as sources of the information that disparages their campaign.
“Senator Ping & Congressman Boying red tagging us and claiming na nagbayad kami is worrisome. Will release a statement today,” he said.
Salazar, a staunch supporter of Robredo who organized the rally in just a week, was reacting to Lacson’s tweet that it was “worrisome” that some volunteers of the rally were alleged members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Lacson, the author of the controversial Anti-Terror Law (ATL), did not verify such claims, but only reposted a news article of Remulla’s claims.
“And you accusing us is more worrisome. You could have asked us. Ang taas pa naman ng respeto ko sa’yo (I have high respect for you). I made the right choice,” Salazar stressed.
He added that it became a problem for him because volunteers are now more passionate about house-to-house campaigning.
After Robredo’s successful grand rally, Remulla accused in a radio show that attendees were paid P500 each.
Gutierrez refuted this, saying that supporters printed their own posters and bought their own shirts.
“At napakarami nang mga tao na nagpahayag sa social media, sa mga interviews sa media na kusa talaga silang nagpupunta. Ang katotohanan ‘yung mga tao pa, ‘yung mga supporters, ‘yung mga volunteers, sila ang gumagastos (A lot of people are expressing their thoughts on social media, in the interviews with media, that they are going their in their own volition. The truth is the people, the supporters, they spend),” he said.
“At gaya nga ng binanggit niyo, ‘yung pagpunta doon sa mga venue talagang ‘yung mga tao ay naglalakad, talagang sila ang nagkukusang magpunta diyan. Walang kahakot-hakot sa mga rally na ito (And as you mentioned, going to the venue, the people are walking, they go there willingly. These are not paid),” the former Akbayan representative added.
In a statement, the Robredo People’s Council in Cavite denied false claims those who attended the campaign rally for the Leni-Kiko slate in General Trias on Friday were paid.
The group, composed of volunteers from various sectors, strongly condemned the individuals behind the “malicious, baseless, and irresponsible” allegations.
“Ito ay purong ‘bolunterismo’ – walang hinihinging kabayaran at kapalit kundi ang pag-asang maibabalik ang matino, mahusay at may resibong pamamahala sa bayan (This is pure volunteerism—we don’t ask for payment or anything in exchange except for the hope to bring back decent, competent, and proven governance),” it said.
The people council likewise cried foul over unfounded claims that there were student activists from the Left that joined the rally.
“Ang iresponsable at mapanirang konklusyon na ito lalo pa’t nagmumula sa iginagalang a mga pinuno ng bansa ay sadyang makapaminsala sa moral at dignidad ng mga kabataang Caviteño na ang nais lamang ay iwasto ang pamamalakad sa ating pamahalaan (This irresponsible and destructive conclusion, especially if it comes from the country’s respected leader destroys the morals and dignity of Caviteño youth which only wants to correct how our government is being run),” the RPC said.