Gift-giving is one of the wonderful traditions every Christmas season. It shows the kindness and generosity of people who can afford to give, especially to people who are really in need. But here in the Philippines, this tradition is sometimes being abused by politicians, especially if they want people to be familiar with their names and faces.
This Friday, December 30, a random photos of Christmas gifts were posted at Maharlika Facebook page. The assorted gifts include pancit canton and plastic bowl (mangkok), among others. But unlike the usual gifts that we receive, a concern netizen from Lopez, Quezon province is asking why those gifts need to have faces of their local politicians.
“Dear Maharlika. Please post this random photos of our politicians in our town Lopez, Quezon! I don’t understand why they need to atouch (attach) their names and photo to the items they called Christmas gift!” The unnamed netizen wrote as caption on the said photos. However, we are not sure if those gifts were really distributed this year or last year.
The local politicians whose photos and names were posted on those Christmas gifts were identified as Lopez, Quezon Mayor Rachel A. Ubana, Board Member Raquel Mendoza and Councilor Toytoy Olanda. Based on our research, we at Taho News have confirmed that those pictures were legitimate photos of the elected public officials being questioned.
According to the official records of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Mayor Rachel Ubana, Board Member Raquel Mendoza, and Councilor Toytoy Olanda ran this May 2016 elections and won. Therefore, it is very likely that those Christmas gifts with their names and photos were also given last December 2015, as part of their campaign materials.
Credit: Maharlika Facebook
Sad to say, there is no existing law that prohibits politicians putting their faces and names on gifts. And although there is a pending ‘Anti-Epal” bill in the Senate, this is only for on-going and finished government projects. In fact, Comelec allows ‘Epal campaigning’. But the more important question now is, whose money was used to buy those Christmas gifts?