The Commission on Elections (Comelec) found probable cause to file four counts of election-related cases “against former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) president Manuel Morato for using his television show in campaigning for defeated presidential Gilbert Teodoro in the 2010 polls.”
“We find reasonable ground to suspect that respondent (Morato) has indeed violated Section 261 (O) of the Omnibus Election Code, as well as Republic Act No. 9006… and Comelec Resolution No. 8758″
RA 9006 pertains to the Fair Election Act while Resolution No. 8758 contains the implementing rules and regulations of RA 9006.
The Omnibus Election Code prohibits the use of public funds, equipment and facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign.
Manoling Morato replies in his press statement below that the Comelec case filed against him was initiated by PCSO Margie Juico through her and her husband’s lawyer , Atty. Bonifacio Alentajan almost two years after the May 10, 2010 elections.
He adds that “I was only one of five directors during the term of Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo. As director I had no power to the purse. According to the statement of the Comelec director James Jimenez, that “I authorized the release of public funds to air his television show Dial M…” As only a director I cannot do that…I cannot do that. That power belongs to high authority so much so that whenever a patient would come to me for help, I always sought for the approval of the PCSO chairman or general manager who was always empathetic to the poor.”
According to Morato, “in fairness to the Comelec, the case did not emanate from them. PCSO chairman Margie Juico initiated it (maybe upon instructions from her bosses) to get back at me.”
“It was her retaliation for the corruption charges I filed against her before the Office of the Ombudsman for transferring $6 million in PCSO savings from the Land Bank of the Philippines to UCPB, a private commercial bank, which is against the law.”
“Why was I not reprimanded during the 2010 campaign period if they thought I was violating the law? Where [were] Director James Jimenez of Comelec who was in charge of monitoring campaign violations? Where [were] the Movie, Television Review and Classification Board, which is also tasked to monitor all TV programs for poll-related violations?” he said.
Morato, also a former MTRCB head, said “it proves they saw nothing really wrong, because most of the time I was cracking jokes in public.”
“To some viewers, Dial M was both a public service and comedy show. There’s no malice. We made fun of candidates who were lying or committing misdeeds. Would that be a sin? If they don’t like to be criticized then they should always behave properly,” he said.