Pork Barrel Dangled By Coop Party List

Posted April 24, 2007 05:10:00(Mla Time)

Vincent Cabreza
BAGUIO CITY—What seemed to be evidence that a party-list group was engaged in vote-buying was uploaded last week in the Internet, and this got the attention of the Commission on Elections.

A nominee of the Cooperative Natco Network Party, the party-list group of the National Confederation of Cooperatives, could be seen in a 10-minute video clip at http://www.youtube.com promising Baguio-based cooperatives here shares from the Natco congressional development fund in exchange for their money and support.

Jose Ping-ay, the nominee, belongs to the Sta Cruz Development Cooperative based in Ilocos Sur. He met several representatives of cooperatives here on April 3, after they attended a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas workshop on counterfeit money.

Referring to an Ilocos Sur cooperative, Ping-ay said: “In 2004, they contributed P100,000 to the party fund… for every P100,000 contribution the cooperative will be entitled to P1 million allocation from the congressional funds.”

Coop-Natco won a congressional seat in the 2001 and 2004 elections. Guillermo Cua represents Coop-Natco at the House of Representatives.

Gauging by the clip alone, lawyer Maribelle Uminga, Baguio election supervisor, said Coop-Natco may have violated election laws regulating campaign contributions.

She said Comelec Resolution 7794 prohibits candidates from soliciting campaign donations from public or private financial institutions because these can be used to secure public government commitments.

Many of the cooperatives approached by Coop-Natco are lending facilities.

Promising pork barrel allocations already violates that rule because CDF funds are public funds, Uminga said.

But the same rule allows candidates to secure loans from private or public facilities and members of the party-list group are using this to justify the video clip.

Recto Inso, one of the party-list coordinators in the city, said they solicit investments from local cooperatives to augment their campaign funds, and the CDF is only a guarantee that they get back their capital.

Inso attended the meeting featured in the YouTube clip. He said most candidates and party-list groups have “their own strategies” in securing campaign funds, and Coop-Natco’s approach is the most “transparent.”

He said Coop-Natco had always solicited campaign funds this way ever since they won a seat in Congress. “We see nothing wrong with it because no money changed hands. This is not vote-buying at all. We print out the names of donors in our newsletters, and we tell cooperatives what they get in return,” he said.

Inso, a manager of a market cooperative, said his group received a computer laptop from Coop-Natco because they were credited for raising 1,000 votes in 2004.

Other cooperatives received projects worth P1 million.

The party-list group financed two buildings worth P2 million for a cooperative in the Ilocos region, which donated to the 2004 campaign, he said.
BAGUIO CITY—What seemed to be evidence that a party-list group was engaged in vote-buying was uploaded last week in the Internet, and this got the attention of the Commission on Elections.

A nominee of the Cooperative Natco Network Party, the party-list group of the National Confederation of Cooperatives, could be seen in a 10-minute video clip at http://www.youtube.com promising Baguio-based cooperatives here shares from the Natco congressional development fund in exchange for their money and support.

Jose Ping-ay, the nominee, belongs to the Sta Cruz Development Cooperative based in Ilocos Sur. He met several representatives of cooperatives here on April 3, after they attended a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas workshop on counterfeit money.

Referring to an Ilocos Sur cooperative, Ping-ay said: “In 2004, they contributed P100,000 to the party fund… for every P100,000 contribution the cooperative will be entitled to P1 million allocation from the congressional funds.”

Coop-Natco won a congressional seat in the 2001 and 2004 elections. Guillermo Cua represents Coop-Natco at the House of Representatives.

Gauging by the clip alone, lawyer Maribelle Uminga, Baguio election supervisor, said Coop-Natco may have violated election laws regulating campaign contributions.

She said Comelec Resolution 7794 prohibits candidates from soliciting campaign donations from public or private financial institutions because these can be used to secure public government commitments.

Many of the cooperatives approached by Coop-Natco are lending facilities.

Promising pork barrel allocations already violates that rule because CDF funds are public funds, Uminga said.

But the same rule allows candidates to secure loans from private or public facilities and members of the party-list group are using this to justify the video clip.

Recto Inso, one of the party-list coordinators in the city, said they solicit investments from local cooperatives to augment their campaign funds, and the CDF is only a guarantee that they get back their capital.

Inso attended the meeting featured in the YouTube clip. He said most candidates and party-list groups have “their own strategies” in securing campaign funds, and Coop-Natco’s approach is the most “transparent.”

He said Coop-Natco had always solicited campaign funds this way ever since they won a seat in Congress. “We see nothing wrong with it because no money changed hands. This is not vote-buying at all. We print out the names of donors in our newsletters, and we tell cooperatives what they get in return,” he said.

Inso, a manager of a market cooperative, said his group received a computer laptop from Coop-Natco because they were credited for raising 1,000 votes in 2004.

Other cooperatives received projects worth P1 million.

The party-list group financed two buildings worth P2 million for a cooperative in the Ilocos region, which donated to the 2004 campaign, he said.

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One Response to “Pork Barrel Dangled By Coop Party List”

  1. coopman Says:

    this is not vote buying. this approach is beneficial to the coop sector


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