Duterte camp denies barring Grace rally in Davao

Subscribe Now February 29, 2016 at 10:34am

The camp of presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday belied reports that presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe and runningmate Sen. Francis Escudero were not given a permit to hold a campaign rally in the city.

Poe and Escudero were scheduled to hold a campaign sortie in Davao City on Friday but they had to reschedule the event.

Lorna Kapunan, a senatorial candidate of the Poe-Escudero tandem, was quoted as telling reporters that their campaign organizers were not able to get a permit for the rally from the Davao City Hall.

The Poe-Escudero tandem moved their rally to Tacloban City in Leyte.

But Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman, said the claim that Poe and Escudero were barred from conducting a rally in Davao City was “simply baseless if not ridiculous.”

“Their organizers are lazy. They did not do their job. That’s not our fault or the city government of Davao’s fault,” he added.
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Laviña said groups conducting rallies in Davao City’s public parks are required to pay only P150 for electricity use.

Groups intending to hold rallies in Davao City are also required to coordinate with the city’s Traffic Management Center and the Central 911 for standby emergency unit. The processing of permits is usually completed within a day.

“We learned that there was an application, but this application was not pursued. The person who filed it did not return. The person is lazy or tired or finding reasons. Now whose fault is this?” Laviña said.

Laviña also maintained that it is not the nature and character of Duterte or of the Davao City government to curtail the freedom of people to use public spaces.

“Davao City is known for its respect and tolerance to groups and people who want to exercise their freedom and use public spaces to protest and express grievances or political views or religious beliefs peacefully,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that the senator’s camp is twisting the facts, making it appear like a permit was not granted because of politics,” he added.

There were also allegedly moves to prevent people from attending Poe and Escudero’s rally at the RTR Plaza, a freedom park in Tacloban City owned by the provincial government of Leyte.

Former An Waray party-list representative Florencio Noel said many barangay leaders were called to an emergency meeting by the camp of Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who is supporting the vice presidential bid of his cousin Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the presidential campaign of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The barangay leaders were called by Tacloban City Councilor Cristina Romualdez, according to Noel, a supporter of Poe and Escudero and the only competitor of Romualdez in the mayoralty race.

“There is that move to prevent people from attending the rally but we were given the permit,” Noel said.

Noel recalled that when the adoptive father of Poe, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., ran for president and held his grand rally at the RTR Plaza, the venue was jampacked and he won in Eastern Visayas.

Source: philstar.com

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