CAGAYAN de Oro Vice Mayor Vicente Emano denied allegations that he is trying to buy off village leaders in exchange for political support.

“I can’t afford it,” Emano said.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Emano, who is running for mayor, is facing accusations that he has been handing out money for barangay and even community zone leaders to ensure their support in the May elections.

Canitoan barangay chairperson Marlyn Lagumen alleged that Emano has been offering zone leaders in her village some P50,000 as “assistance”.

One of those who were offered, she said, was a village councilor, who refused the money.

Lagumen’s claims were supported by Gusa barangay chairman Enrico Salcedo, who said community leaders in his barangay are also being wooed by Emano through cash.

Salcedo, a former ally of Emano, said it was the vice mayor’s “style” to “bribe barangay officials so that he will have greater control of them during elections.”

The vice mayor described the allegations as “very far from the truth.”

While he admitted having extended “financial assistance” to a group of residents in Barangay Gusa, Emano said the amount was less than P50,000, and that it was need to complete the water system of the recipients.

The vice mayor said he was too “poor” and he can’t even afford “to spend for himself in the coming elections.”

Emano added: “That’s a big money ug bisan kanus-a, dili ko ma-afford paghatag niana nga kantidad.”

He said the allegations are tainted with politics, pointing that Lagumen, a former supporter, is seeking a City Council seat under his rival, Representative Rolando Uy (first district), while Salcedo is a known supporter of the congressman.

“It’s election time and my political opponents are inventing negative issues against me to destroy my image before the public at all cost,” Emano told Sun.Star.