Nograles on Duterte’s junking of Kalahi: “no comment’

“No comment,” he told MindaNews while boarding his vehicle after visiting the training for assistors at the Kalahi base in San Rafael Village Saturday afternoon.

On the allegations hurled by Duterte that Nograles spent most of his time campaigning for Kalahi rather than for Team Unity which had a partnership with Duterte’s party, Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, he said, “No comment. I don’t want to fight,” Nograles, House Majority Floorleader,  said.

Duterte has been vocal about his support for three militant party-list groups – Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela. These groups earlier petitioned for the disqualification of Kalahi.

But the Nograles camp appears to have retaliated. Sample ballots distributed through its volunteer assistors who queued for training in San Rafael Village, showed three incumbent councilors of the 1st district, where Nograles is seeking a third term, were not on his list: Bonifacio Militar and Peter Lavina who ran as independents in 2004 and Bayan Muna’s Angela Librado.

MindaNews had not seen the sample ballot without the three party-mates when Nograles was interviewed. MindaNews asked an assistor who was carrying a roll of paper what it was and she said it was a calendar. Asked if she had sample ballots, she gave MindaNews a copy. The ballot did not contain the names of the three councilors. Other reporters were also shown the same sample ballots.

But Roland Polancos, coordinator of the 1st district poblacion for “Team Unity-Kalahi,” who approached the reporters who gathered outside the Kalahi base, gave sample ballots that had the complete council slate.

Shown the other ballot that had the last three spaces for city councilor left blank, Polancos said all he knows is that what he was holding was what they were distributing “the past three days.”

Polancos said they pay P200 per poll watcher and P100 per poll assistor. He said they also give a pack of two kilos of rice for their worker’s families.

Kalahi has been reported in the media for distributing rice, sardines and noodles in different areas in the city. Polancos the package, for their watchers and assistors, he maintains, is just for two kilos of rice although sometimes there are sardines and noodles.

(Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)