PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Former Puerto Princesa City mayor Edward Hagedorn filed a vote-buying complaint against reelectionist Mayor Lucilo Bayron and his 12 teammates in local ticket Kuridas Team.
The complaint was lodged before the city Commission on Elections (Comelec) at around 4 pm Monday, May 13.
Hagedorn, president of Pederalismo ng Dakilang Samahan in Palawan, alleged that “massive” vote-buying and vote-selling, among other election offenses, occurred days before Election Day in Barangays Bagong Silang and Luzviminda.
The former mayor supported his complaint with statements by witnesses, as well as videos, photos, and voice recordings attesting to the handing out of P500 to each of the crowd.
“These reports of the illegal schemes to vote for respondents-candidates are widespread in Puerto Princesa City, and are evidently premeditated,” Hagedorn claimed in the complaint.
Besides Bayron, he also implicated in the case Kuridas Team top members, vice mayoral bet Nancy Socrates, and third district congressional bet Gil Acosta Jr.
Also included as respondents are Kuridas Team’s city councilor bets Rolando Amurao, Nesario Awat, Jimmy Carbonell, Elgin Damasco, Herbert Dilig, Henry Gadiano, Matthew Mendoza, Victor Oliveros, Michael Tan, and Roy Ventura.
It also included two unnamed respondents who happened to be incumbent barangay chairman and secretary of Barangay Luzviminda.
Hagedorn and Bayron had respectively served as city mayor and vice mayor for several years under the same political boat.
The two had turned from friends to foes after they clashed for the top city post in the previous elections. Their rivalry has grown stiffer when Hagedorn backed the mayoralty bid of incumbent Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III.
Bayron and Marcaida were once under Kuridas Team until they broke up, with the latter forming his own local slate, Team Aprub.
On Facebook, residents slammed the local Comelec and other concerned authorities for allegedly taking the issue lightly.
TV Patrol Palawan reported of the alleged vote-buying incidents in some barangays in the city involving another of Bayron’s political affiliation, Bigkis Puerto Princesa. Caught on video were people queuing in a house for the offers said to be ranging from P500 to P1,000.
Bayron’s camp, however, dismissed the accusation as a political ploy by his stiff rival Marcaida. Marcaida’s camp likewise denied it.
Vote-buying and vote-selling are violations of the Omnibus Election Code under Section 261. A person is prohibited from giving money or anything of value to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for any candidate. (READ: [EXPLAINER] Vote-buying is not just giving or taking cash)
Any person found guilty of committing an election offense, including vote-buying and selling, shall be perpetually disqualified from holding public office and shall forfeit their right to vote. – Rappler.com
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