- DILG defended memo, said LGUs not forced to bring participants to rally
- Official said no gov’t funds used for the assembly
- He also said rally not political, showcases advocacies all citizens should support
MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary John Castriciones defended his boss Ismael Sueno’s memo inviting LGUs to send constituents to pro-administration rallies at the Quirino Grandstand.
According to Undersecretary John Castriciones, the LGUs were merely encouraged and not forced to send their constituents to the venue.
“We are not compelling anyone, the department is not compelling anyone to come over here. But it happened that these advocacies that we have against drugs, corruption, criminality, and poverty is the same advocacy of all local chief executives,” CNN Philippines quoted him as saying. “What was asked was just to show support. It did not say that you provide a budget or you set aside government resources.”
However, Castriciones, the secretary general of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Council, admitted that LGUs used government vehicles to transport their constituents to the venue but insisted it was no big deal.
“If you have to bring some people here, what do you do? For example, they come from Batangas, they have to walk all the way from Batangas?” he asked. “And besides, all of us will benefit from this because it affirms the need to have a concerted effort down to the barangay level to fight these evils of society.”
Castriciones also said that contrary to critics’ contention, the event was for every Filipino regardless of their political colors.
“This is not colored by any political affiliations. But rather it is an advocacy that needs to be supported by even an ordinary citizen,” he said. “It was a private event against illegal drugs, poverty and corruption, and local government units just took advantage of it because they also have the same advocacies.”