Belmonte denies blocking political rally

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte yesterday belied claims by her mayoralty opponent Rep. Mike Defensor that she rejected a planned political rally in the city to show support for the presidential bid of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Belmonte said the city government did not deny the request for a rally permit by the Defensor camp at the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC).

She explained that the city governent even offered the covered gymnasium, one of the newest facilities in the QMC, which could seat up to 3,000 people with proper social distancing.

However, the Defensor camp supposedly demanded the use of the Liwasang Aurora facility.

The city government said it would be harder to control the crowd at Liwasang Aurora as it is open to the general public.

In a statement, the city government said it is open to all lawful rallies, events and programs regardless of political affiliation.

“For as long as the organizers obey all regulations and procedures to reserve allowed and permitted venues, the city will issue the necessary permits,” the statement read.

Belmonte added that they still have to clarify with the national government the guidelines on activities involving political campaigns as these could pose a risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the city government consulted the Department of the Interior and Local Government and that as far as the DILG is concerned, such activities are not yet allowed.

City Attorney Orlando Casimiro said this issue is just part of the political antics of the other party to attribute negative news to Belmonte.

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