Duterte camp returns excess donations

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 20, 2016 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Supporters of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte have returned unused campaign funds to donors, the first time excess funds were returned to contributors.

In his Facebook account, incoming agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the group Anonymous Patriots led by businessman Benigno Gopez has issued checks to be given back to their campaign donors.

“This is the first time in the history of Philippine politics that excess funds were returned to contributors. Most politicians keep the money to themselves after the campaign,” Piñol said.

“Change is coming? That’s passe. Change has actually started,” he added.

Piñol quoted Gopez as saying that returning the excess money is intended “to show to the people that everything will be different under the Duterte presidency.”

The incoming agriculture chief, however, could not say how much was returned to contributors.

“They do not want to reveal (the amount),” Piñol said.

Peter Laviña, spokesman for Duterte’s transition team, said the Davao City mayor asked his supporters to return the unused funds.

“This is the effort of our Manila supporters. They tried to raise funds but there is excess money,” Laviña said in a chance interview yesterday. 

“The guidance from the mayor is that excess funds should be returned. If the donors refuse to accept them, we will give them to charity. We will not put them in our pockets. The mayor wants to set an example,” he added.

Piñol said during the campaign, Duterte instructed his fund raisers to be careful and selective in receiving contributions.

“He (Duterte) stressed that he would not receive money from groups and individuals who have interests in government or those who have contracts with government,” Piñol said.

“Duterte is also known to refuse contributions from Davao City during the (local) elections when he ran unopposed.”

Gatchalian supports ‘local measures’

Meanwhile, senator-elect Sherwin Gatchalian of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) expressed support yesterday for Duterte’s policy proposals, saying these are needed to instill order and discipline at the grassroots level.

A former three-term mayor of Valenzuela City, Gatchalian said Duterte’s plan to implement a nationwide liquor ban after 1 a.m., a ban on smoking in public places as well as a 10 p.m. curfew for minors may sound “too local,” but these are the building blocks for a peaceful and orderly society.

“Presumptive president Duterte is going back to the basics, to discipline. His initial pronouncements might sound parochial or too local, but they are necessary to instill order and discipline at the grassroots level,” Gatchalian said. – With Paolo Romero

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