Presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday said he would ask the Comelec to exempt him from the election spending ban so that he could hold relief operations for victims of tropical cyclone Agaton.
The 43-year-old boxer-turned-senator said elections should not be a reason to restrict the flow of aid to calamity-stricken areas. Pacquiao declared a net worth of P3.2 billion in 2021.
“Sa ngayon gusto ko mang tumulong at kung payagan tayo ng Comelec na tumulong tayo ay tutulong tayo na hindi magkakaroon ng conflict doon sa kandidatura natin. Kung payagan, sana payagan tayo ng Comelec,” Pacquiao said.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, candidates are prohibited from giving, offering, or promising anything of value during the election period.
Comelec Resolution 10747 also prohibits public officials and offices to spend public funds for social welfare services from March 25 to May 8, 2022, unless granted an exemption by the poll body.
If his request is turned down, Pacquiao said he would ask his friends to pitch in to give assistance to Agaton victims.
“Kakausapin ko yung mga kaibigan ko na may kaya na mag-initiative sila na tumulong sila. Yun ang gagawin ko dahil kawawa naman yung mga kababayan natin na naghihirap,” he added.
At least 58 people have died from the onslaught of Agaton, according to an Agence France-presse tally. While Agaton is on its way out, it will continue to bring rains to large parts of the country throughout the Holy Week, PAGASA said.
Previously, the Comelec allowed the office of Vice President Leni Robredo to continue its COVID response programs during the campaign period.