MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police arrested 60 individuals, among them 3 barangay officials, suspected of buying and selling their votes in Barangay San Isidro, Makati City.
The suspects were nabbed by the National Capital Region Police Office, the Southern Police District Special Operations Unit, and the Makati City Police in an operation at the barangay hall around 10:45 pm on Saturday, May 11, the last day of the official campaign period. (READ: PNP arrests suspected vote-buyers, sellers nationwide)
The suspected vote-buyers are the following:
- Karen May Matibag, barangay treasurer
- Joy Ong, barangay secretary
- Marie Antoinette Capistrano, barangay administrative staff member
- Wenifredo Ong Jr
- Mario Louis Siriban
- Adrian Chiapoco
- John Brian Matibag
- Maria Liberty Dacullo
The police also nabbed another 52 residents of Barangay San Isidro who are believed to have been selling their votes.
NCRPO chief Major General Guillermo Eleazar said the suspects have violated the Omnibus Election Code.
“Itong barangay hall na ito, pinapatay nila ang ilaw, pinapapasok ang lahat at saka inilo-lock. This is a clear violation ng ating ipinatutupad na Omnibus Election Code at maaari rin silang managot sa intervention of public officers. Ire-refer natin ito hindi lang sa Comelec (Commission on Elections), pati na rin sa DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government),” he said.
(In this barangay hall, they close the lights, ask everybody to come in, then they lock the doors. This is a clear violation of the Omnibus Election Code and they have to face consequences under intervention of public officers. We will refer them to the Comelec and even the DILG.)
The police confiscated from the suspects 820 pieces of P500 bills amounting to P410,000, 19 identification cards, 10 mobile phones, and a list of voters with their addresses and polling precinct numbers.
The arrest happened on Saturday night at the same time mayoral candidate Junjun Binay was holding his miting de avance along Lawton Avenue, where he said his camp has been receiving reports of alleged vote-buying in the city. (WATCH: Newsbreak Chats: Vote-buying beyond just giving cash)
Junjun, who is challenging the reelection bid of his older sister Abby Binay, told Makati voters they should accept the bribe money, but vote for him and the rest of his Team Be Nice slate.
Aside from the warring Binay siblings, other candidates for Makati mayor are Ricardo Yabut (Bigkis Pinoy), Carmelle Alanzalon (independent), and Renato Bondal (independent), who had made corruption allegations against Junjun and his father, former vice president turned Makati congressional candidate Jejomar Binay. – with reports from Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com