(Photo by: PHOTOVILLE International)
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Election (Comelec) reported that the most prevalent election offense in the recently concluded barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election, May 14, was vote buying.
Comelec command center particularly noted the massive vote buying in the province of Aklan.
Authorities arrested a suspected vote buyer in possession of 10 envelopes, each containing a complete line up of candidates and enclosed with P300.
“Noong binuksan iyong bag, puno ng pera so that person was taken to the Task Force Office at pino-proseso na siya. Hinihintay namin na ma-submit ang pangalan ng involved for an election offense, Comelec Spokesperson Dante Jimenez said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) agreed that incidents of vote buying were rampant during the elections.
“In other parts of the country especially sa Region 4A. may naaresto diyan na walo because of vote buying activities – one in Lucena, in Calamba and Calauag…Isa recently suspected vote buying activity sa may Taguig,” said PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.
Aside from vote buying, the PNP also recorded a number of election offenses in some areas in Metro Manila and various provinces such as violation of the Comelec gun ban and liquor ban as well as harassments.
Comelec is encouraging the public to report such incidents to authorities so that appropriate actions can be taken against those responsible especially the involved candidates for election.
“File them directly sa Comelec so we can quickly act on those complaints,” said Acting Comelec Chair Al Parreno.
Based on the Omnibus Election Code, a candidate accused of vote buying cannot be automatically disqualified from election. However, once proven guilty of such and other election offenses, a newly elected official will be removed from office. — Asher Cadapan Jr. | UNTV News & Rescue