To ensure victory the dirty way, the ruling Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas could buy votes using his own financial logistics being the richest presidential bet in the May polls.
He could also tap his many friends in the mining sector, among them a billionaire miner accused of environmental plunder, to provide the funds in the vote-buying spree.
Roxas, to salvage his drowning political career being the consistent bottom-dweller in surveys for presidential preference, can also resort to bribery, by luring support of local government officials with shares from a P100 billion government development fund.
Roxas has yet to dig into his pocket and that of the wealthy Araneta-Roxas clan for the vote-buying fund to ensure his win.
He also has yet to shake down his friend and supporter Eric Gutierrez, the billionaire miner who has been providing him with jets in his provincial sorties, for the vote-buying fund that could come from the P28 billion worth of nickel ore that the billionaire illegally mined in Agusan del Norte.
But Roxas has already done the bribery and openly in his campaign speeches.
The camp of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has accused Roxas and the Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino of bribing local chief executives through the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) program.
Duterte, the prudential candidate of the opposition Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban), stands on an anti-corruption campaign platform.
In his campaign speeches, Roxas, the former secretary of the interior and local governments, said he would give P100 billion, or P1,000 for each Filipino annually, through the barangays, under the BUB process, if he wins in May.
PHOTO BY RAPPLER
Roxas last dangled the bribe to village officials during a major gathering of the Liga Ng Mga Barangay, the national association of barangay officials.
“Now we see a process with millions of pesos of government money being used as a ruse into voting for Roxas,” said Peter Lavina, spokesman of Duterte.
“BUB is now officially a campaign kitty of the administration bet,” according to Lavina.
The BUB was first implemented when the LP candidate was Interior secretary.
“Mar is holding the life of every Filipino hostage by dangling P1,000 at the start of his presidential campaign, conditioning it on his fate come May 9,” Lavina said.
“Clearly, the administration bet is resorting to bribery, offering money to local chief executives in the hope of winning their support,” he said.
“How this money is supposed to be spent under the BUB process is very questionable,” he added.
Critics likened the BUB to the scandalous multi-billion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
According to Lavina, voters should dump Roxas’ promise.
“Let us not be fooled by this. This early, Roxas is already trying to buy local executives by promising them rewards,” Lavina said.