Attendees win cash from Gov. Remulla at talent show before UniTeam sortie proper

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Attendees win cash from Gov. Remulla at talent show before UniTeam sortie proper
Gov. Jonvic Remulla gives away cash prizes for supporters at a campaign event in Dasmariñas, Cavite on March 22, 2022.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo

CAVITE, Philippines — In a jampacked covered court in Dasmariñas, Cavite where hundreds of people waited for UniTeam bets, re-electionist Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla entertained people by holding a talent contest with cash prizes.

An hour before the scheduled 8 a.m mini-rally at Barangay San Juan in Dasmariñas, supporters clad in red and green started filling the covered gym where hosts were singing.

Remulla arrived and took some selfies with people and went on stage, where he announced he would give cash prizes to the three best singers in the crowd.

One woman participant even sang Sza’s Titanium, replete with the meme version of cajoling the crowd to sing “sabay-sabay” when the note gets too high to hit.

For this batch, Remulla took out a roll of blue paper bills in his pocket to give P5,000 to two contestants and P2,000 to another contestant.

What followed was a dance showdown for "gays", he said. Four participants joined to get a top prize of 5,000. One took home 2,000 and two others got P1,000 each.

While waiting for other UniTeam bets to arrive, Remulla again called for another singing contest where he again gave away prizes of P5,000 and P2,000. The Cavite governor gave out around P28,000 on Tuesday morning.

The Omnibus Election Code prohibits "vote-buying," which it defines as:

Any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise or grant, public or private, or makes or offers to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.

‘Just a gathering’

In an ambush interview at the second mini-rally at Barangay Paliparan covered court, Remulla insisted it was not an election offense.

"I am still not a candidate, until the 25th," he said partly in Filipino. Campaign season for local candidates start on March 25.

He insisted the actvity was not a UniTeam sortie yet since the candidates for national positions were not around.

"It was just a gathering before they arrived," Remulla added.

He pointed out that before he gave away money, it was just him on stage and there were no UniTeam bets with him. The entire covered court was filled with campaign materials of UniTeam candidates and there were two huge streamers for Marcos and Duterte at the no-yet-a-sortie.

Around an hour after Remulla gave away money, UniTeam bets started arriving at the venue.

Reporters sought the Commission on Elections' response on the activity but it has yet to give a statement. 

All UniTeam events will culminate at a grand rally at the General Trias Sports Complex—where Vice President Leni Robredo staged a mammoth rally early in March—later this afternoon.

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