Contributions to Akbayan by Aquino sisters part of 'democratic process' — Malacanang

October 25, 2012 10:35 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Oct. 25 — Malacanang Thursday admitted the contributions made by the siblings of President Benigno Aquino III to the campaign of Akbayan party-list in the 2010 national elections.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a press briefing, said the contributions were made as part of the "democratic process."

"The sisters are, and continue up to this day as, private citizens. They have a right to contribute to a group they feel would also support the President's program of anti-corruption and poverty alleviation," he said.

Besides, Lacierda said, it is not only the President's sisters who supported the Akbayan party-list during the campaign.

Reports said the Akbayan party-list received P112 million in campaign contributions for the 2010 national elections. Of this amount, some P14 million came from the three Aquino sisters.

Based on the statement of election contributions and expenditures filed by Akbayan, it received a total of P112,183,000.00 from February 9 to May 8, 2010.

Political party organizations contributed to less than 5.0 percent of the total amount at P5,250,000. The P106,933,000 came from individual persons.

Kristina Bernadette Aquino-Yap was listed to be its biggest contributor, with P10 million. Maria Elena "Ballsy" Aquino Cruz gave P2 million, while Victoria Aquino-Dee contributed another P2 million.

Margarita Juico, now chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, also gave P1 million.

National Anti-Poverty Commission chief Jose Eliseo Rocamora also contributed P1 million while concurrent Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello contributed some P1.4 million.

Akbayan's total expenditure for the 2010 elections was at P112,174,008.70.

Meanwhile, Lacierda called it "unfair" to take it against somebody who is well-known just because they support Akbayan's advocacy.

"If, for instance, Inquirer, the owners would support an environmental group, should we take it against the environmental group or the party-list group that because Inquirer is supporting this particular group they should be disqualified?" he asked.

Lacierda said it's not a question of who your supporters are, but a question of what you stand for. (PNA)

HBC/LGI

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