MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday, May 14, that 8 people have been arrested in Calabarzon due to vote-buying during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections 2018.
The suspects were apprehended in Lucena City and Calauag in Quezon, and in Calamba City, Laguna, said Albayalde during a press briefing with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other agencies on Monday afternoon.
Albayalde added, there was another suspect of vote-buying in Taguig City, although there was still no reported apprehension.
The PNP chief said they were still validating vote-buying reports that they were receiving.
“Hindi naman namin pinagsasapawalang-bahala ito (We don’t dismiss these). We always check, we always respond to the text messages of our people also,” he said.
For its part, Comelec urged voters and witnesses to report cases of vote-buying during the village and youth council polls.
“Dapat talaga, ang makakita ng vote-buying, ‘yung may ebidensya, mag-file ng complaint” said Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
(Those who witness vote-buying, those who have evidence, they should really file a complaint.)
“Sinasabi natin, bakit hindi natin mapigilan iyang mga kandidato na iyan o mga padrino nila na mag-vote-buying, kasi alam nila they can get away with it,” Guanzon added.
(We always wonder why we can’t prevent candidates or their backers from vote-buying. Because they know they can get away with it.)
Members of the media who have footages of vote-buying should likewise come forward as witnesses, the Comelec commissioner said.
She also said election laws should be reformed to include as election offenses newer forms of vote-buying as well as intimidation of voters.
In addition, she said part of the reforms should be the speedy investigation and prosecution of these cases, noting that vote-buying complaints usually took years to resolve. – Rappler.com
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