LP: Manila vice mayor’s arrest not a party matter-A A +A
Monday, February 18, 2013
(UPDATED) The ruling Liberal Party (LP) said Monday that it has nothing to do with the arrest of Manila Vice Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagaso for his alleged involvement in illegal gambling.
Moreno, along with four other city councilors, was arrested by the Quiapo police over the weekend for sponsoring a bingo game in Sta. Cruz, Manila. They were released around 4 a.m. Sunday for lack of evidence.
Moreno is the running mate of former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada in the city of Manila for the May 13 local elections. The two are running under the United Nationalist Alliance against reelectionist Mayor Alfredo Lim and councilor Lou Veloso of the LP.
"The LP has nothing to do with that. It's a local issue but they should face the law," Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone, a campaign spokesperson of the LP-led Team PNoy slate, said in a press conference Monday.
"Even Mayor Lim has nothing to with this issue…This is not a party matter," he added. Lim has denied involvement in the said arrest.
In a television interview, Estrada said that Moreno's arrest was politically motivated and claimed that it was Lim who instructed the police to arrest his running mate.
Meanwhile, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Moreno did not commit any violation in hosting a bingo event.
The Manila Police District said earlier that Moreno and the city councilors will face illegal gambling charges and possible violations of the Omnibus Election Code.
But Brillantes came to Moreno's defense, saying the vice mayor did not commit any violation of the election law since campaign period for the local bets has not started yet.
"Wala ako makita na violation kasi hindi pa naman campaign period e. Pwede nila gawin lahat ng gusto nila ngayon (I did not see any violation since the campaign period has not started yet. They can do whatever they want)," he said.
Republic Act 9369, or the automated election law, states that "any person, who files his Certificate of Candidacy, shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period."
Brillantes also said that the camp of Estrada and Lim did not violate the peace covenant that both parties have signed on Friday following the arrest of candidates identified with the former President.
The poll chief said the covenant will not take effect until the start of the campaign period, which is March 29.
In signing the covenant, Lim and Estrada as well as their supporters have committed to abide by the campaign rules and regulations.
Brillantes, along with other stakeholders, were present in the signing held at the Manila Police District headquarters. (Kathrina Alvarez/HDT/Sunnex)