Fake P500 bills bearing the face of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd started circulating in the media beginning the other night.
The fake bills placed inside white envelopes were sent to two editors of The Manila Times on Wednesday evening.
The next day, reporters covering the Senate and the House of Representatives got their “share.”
The front face of the bill printed from an ordinary copy paper bore Roxas’ picture in place of the image of the late former senator Benigno Aquino Jr.
At the back, the bill carried the inscriptions “Salapi pa more!!!” and “Ibulsa ang pera, iboto ang kursonada [More money!!! Pocket the money, vote for the one you like].”
Vice President Jejomar Binay on August 18 said people should take the money given by politicians but the cash should not make them vote for those who bribe their way to public office.
“Tanggapin ninyo ang perang galing sa kanila, pero bumoto nang ayon sa inyong kunsensya. ‘Yan namang perang ‘yan ay pera ng bayan [Accept the money coming from these politicians, but vote according to your conscience. That money after all is the people’s money],” Binay said in an event organized by the local government unit of Sultan Kudarat.
The return address on the envelopes sent to The Manila Times managing editor Ares Gutierrez and copy editor Romy Mariñas is “J D L, Burke Building, Ermita, Manila” while the return address on those sent to Congress reporters is “HTA Inc., New Manila, Quezon City.”
The bills were sent via post.
The police, according to Roxas, the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party in next year’s elections, should investigate the case.
“It’s fake at dapat na ipadala ito sa pulis, sa NBI [National Bureau of Investigation], para maipakita kung sino ang nagka-counterfeit nito [These should be sent to the police and the NBI to find out who did the counterfeiting],” he said.
When asked if the fake bills would affect his 2016 campaign, the outgoing Interior chief said, “No,” adding, “Why will it affect our candidacy? Wala naman kaming kinalaman.
Obviously it is … pakawala ng … ating mga kalaban at palagay ko wala namang naniniwala na totoo iyang mga kumakalat na iyan [We didn’t have anything to do with this. Obviously, our opponents are behind this and I think nobody will believe that the bills are real].”
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the fake bills are part of the “negative campaigning” against Roxas.
“What you described is apparently the handiwork of those who wish to portray Secretary Roxas in a bad light,” he noted.
“It depicts their preference to engage in negative campaigning, which is diametrically opposed to our advocacy of daang matuwid [straight path],” Coloma said, referring to the good-governance mantra of the Aquino administration.
Lawmakers allied with the LP were quick to link the Vice President, the opposition standard-bearer, over what they called a “cheap stunt.”
“That is part of the dirty-war tactics of the opposition. With the apparent slip of the ratings of Vice President Binay and Sec Mar’s ascension, the opposition is trying to condition the minds of the people that Mar can never win except thru vote buying and cheating,” Rep Teddy Baguilat said in a text message.
Quezon City Rep. Bolet Banal shared Baguilat’s sentiments.
“It’s a cheap stunt which only shows that the opponents of daang matuwid are seeing Mar as a real threat to their selfish interests. Mar’s numbers are slowly but steadily rising, so we should expect more outrageous gimmicks because our detractors know that it is useless to attack his honesty and integrity,” Banal said.