Akbayan still open to donations from Aquino sisters for 2013 polls-A A +A
Friday, November 2, 2012
MANILA -- The Akbayan party-list group is still willing to accept donations from the sisters of President Benigno Aquino III for its campaign funds for the May 2013 midterm elections, a party official said.
The group has been criticized for being a "lapdog loyalist" of the Aquino administration and its legitimacy as representatives of marginalized sectors is also being questioned before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
"They are free to give to whichever party-list they prefer. It is up strictly to their initiative," Akbayan party-list Representative Walden Bello said in a text message.
In its Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures, Akbayan reported that P14 million of its P112 million in political funds came from Aquino's three sisters.
Maria Elena "Ballsy" Aquino-Cruz and Victoria Elisa "Viel" Aquino-Dee each gave P2 million while Queen of all Media and celebrity sister Kris Aquino contributed P10 million.
"As they have always been, these funds will be clean and untainted. None of the funds will be raised from 'revolutionary taxes' and other coercive mechanisms, in contrast to those party-lists of the CPP-NPA-NDF Group of Companies," said Bello, apparently taking a swipe at Bayan Muna party-list group.
In a complaint against the Bayan Muna party-list, the group's representatives are accused of using their yearly Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to fund the operations of the New People's Army (NPA). The group has denied such allegation.
Meanwhile, Bello said campaign contributions for the 2013 polls will still go to radio and television advertisements.
"As before, nothing will be spent for the internal organizational needs of Akbayan. As before, all of contributions and contributors to Akbayan will be reported to the Comelec. As before, Akbayan will be one of the few parties that accurately disclose its campaign contributions and contributors. We hide nothing," Bello added.
Former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros said that while they don't know yet if the Aquino sisters will be contributing to the group's campaign again, she added that campaign contributions will come from those who know the Akbayan's track record.
"Those funds will come from individuals who believe in our track record and reforms we are pushing for. That will also be the way we can run a decent campaign," Hontiveros added.
Hontiveros is one of the senatorial candidates of the ruling Liberal Party-led coalition for the next year's polls. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)