BANGON Pilipinas Movement presidential candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva said the giving out of money to a Tausug group was just part of a tradition.

Villanueva and his slate were caught on tape giving out money during a dance performance of a Tausug group Thursday.

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The political party was in Zamboanga for a campaign sortie when the act was committed.

After the "Pakiring" dance of the Tausugs, the candidates stood up and slid money bills in the clothes of the dancers.

Villanueva however explained that the act was just part of a tradition.

“Kaugalian ng Muslim ang sumasayaw ng ganyan. Nagbibigay kami sa sumayaw as part of tradition,” Villanueva said over a television interview.

Senatoriable Adz Nikabulin echoed Villanueva, saying: “That's a traditional dance of the Tausug. Usually (with) that kind of dancing, we always offer something, that's part of our tradition.”

But Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal urged concerned citizens to file a complaint if they think Villanueva has violated the Omnibus Election Code.

“If a person believes something illegal was committed, they can file the complaint to Comelec,” said Larrazabal.

“We can't make decisions based on incomplete data and information. It's unfair to the candidate,” he added.

Under Article 22 Section 261, the law states: "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."

Last February, Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Manny Villar was seen to have given 20-peso bills to kids during a campaign sortie in Batangas.

However, Comelec earlier said the law on vote buying may not cover the act of Villar since the NP bet did not try to influence a registered voter. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)