LP bets ‘distribute’ NFA rice in Daanbantayan: mayor-A A +A
Saturday, January 5, 2013
GUBERNATORIAL candidate Hilario Davide III and fourth district congressional hopeful Celestino “Tining” Martinez III reportedly ordered the distribution of National Food Authority (NFA) rice in the northern town of Daanbantayan.
Both Davide and Tining belong to the Liberal Party (LP) of President Benigno Aquino III and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.
Davide is facing Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), while Martinez is facing Rep. Benhur Salimbangon.
Mayor Ma. Luisa Loot said they were surprised when truckloads of NFA rice arrived in the town and the local leaders of Davide and Martinez distributed this to the barangays, ranging from 30 to 60 sacks depending on the population.
They also allegedly took the list of at least 150 voters per barangay and told the latter to vote for Davide, Martinez and Agnes Magpale for vice governor.
Loot, in a radio interview, said she wondered where Davide and Martinez got the money to buy the rice from the NFA. And if they did not buy it, did the NFA provide the rice for free to promote both their candidacies, she said.
The mayor said it was nice of them to distribute the rice, but she questioned the timing.
“But if we are helping people, do we wait for the time when the May 2013 election is approaching? For us, the distribution of NFA rice is a form of political doleout and a form of early campaigning by Davide and Martinez,” Loot said.
Loot had been at odds with Congressman Pablo John’s sister, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, before the two women reconciled last August, ending their three-year spat.
Davide, for his part, said he was in Minglanilla when the distribution of rice allegedly took place. He denied having any hand in the activity and refused to comment further.
When Sun.Star Cebu sought the comment of NFA Cebu Provincial Manager Nestor Rey Alcoseba, his nephew said Alcoseba is in the US.
Ma. Lucia Rosales, NFA 7 regional information officer, said she will look into the allegation.
Rosales said the NFA last imported rice early in 2012.
She said the Aquino administration turned over the shipment to the private sector to fill the demand,
which the farmers could not supply.
In a text message to Sun.Star Cebu last night, Tining’s father Bogo City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr. said the fishermen in Daanbantayan have not been able to make a living because of bad weather.
“If the local officials… cannot provide assistance, someone has to step in. As 4th district chairman of LP, I find it my duty to help. This is in line with P-Noy’s strong commitment to help the poor,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 06, 2013.