This file photo shows DILG Secretary Eduardo Año during a Senate budget hearing.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File
DILG: No gov't funds for campaign shirts at barangay officials' summit
( - March 6, 2019 - 12:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — No government funds were spent for shirts bearing the face of former presidential aide Christopher "Bong" Go reportedly distributed during a barangay association assembly, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said.

According to reports, Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) claimed the shirts were distributed as part of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas National Assembly event kit.  

The fee for the event reportedly ranged from P13,800 for those who did not stay at select hotels to P19,800 for stay-in delegates.

“We categorically deny the allegation of Rep. Gary Alejano that government funds were used to purchase Bong Go campaign t-shirts and distributed during the Liga ng mga Barangay Convention last February 25, 2019,” Año said in a statement Tuesday night. 

He added: “The DILG under my watch will never allow any irregularity moreso allowing the use of public funds for unauthorized items.”

The DILG chief said he issued the memorandum that Alejano cited and that authorized barangay officials to spend government funds for their participation in the assembly. He stressed, however, that funds were not allowed to be spent on campaign materials.

“The Liga National Convention is an independent activity initiated and implemented by the national league officers. They have their own organizers. Just like in any local government league activity, the DILG just provided the guidelines so that the activity is in accordance with law,” Año said.

The Local Government Code created the Liga ng mga Barangay "for the primary purpose of determining the representation of the Liga in the sanggunians, and for ventilating, articulating and crystallizing issues affecting barangay government administration and securing, through proper and legal means, solutions thereto."

'Private group paid for shirts'

He, moreover, said that according to the Liga ng mga Barangay, the shirts were paid for by a private organization.

“It was explained to us by the LnB that the t-shirts referred to by Alejano were in fact bought and paid for by 'Bayan For Bong Go,' a private organization of individuals who are supportive of the candidacy of former SAP Bong Go, and was not purchased by the Liga using public funds. The LNB remains an apolitical association of punong barangays,” Año said.

Go has been criticized for tarpaulins, billboards and merchandise bearing his name and fave, which have been spotted in various parts of the country even before the start of the official campaign period. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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