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MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) used its subpoena powers against Quezon City fifth district congressional aspirant Rose Nono Lin, who is facing a vote-buying complaint in the poll body.
The commission gave her and 16 others until May 16 to submit their counter-affidavits and supporting documents to the poll body, based on a copy of the April 26 document seen by Rappler on Wednesday, April 27.
The groups Koalisyon Novalenyo Kontra Korapsyon and Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan ng Bagbag filed the complaint against Lin and 16 others on April 5 with the Comelec.
The two groups alleged that Lin’s camps was giving money to select Quezon City voters under the guise of ayuda or supplemental aid.
The election code classifies vote-buying as an election offense, which is punishable with imprisonment of up to six years, and disqualification from public office.
The vote-buying complaint against Lin was the first that the Comelec received for this election season.
The Comelec had promised to be more proactive in going after vote-buying offenders by forming an interagency task force.
Rappler sought Lin’s reaction through her public Facebook page, but she has yet to reply. This article will be updated once she gives her side.
Previously, her legal team disputed the allegations and said it was black propaganda.
“The images presented as evidence were intentionally taken to distort the truth and confuse the public,” her team had said a News5 report earlier in April.
In 2021, Lin drew spotlight due to her alleged role in anomalous government pandemic contracts.
Lin is the corporate treasurer of Pharmally Biologicals Incorporated, an alleged sister company of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation which secured multi-billion-pesos’ worth of contracts under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
She attended numerous blue ribbon committee hearings last year, but also made subsequent absences.
The same committee ordered to arrest her in January, but put it on hold in February due to humanitarian reasons, as she was supposedly ill and was undergoing a surgical procedure.
She was once Lakas-CMD’s candidate for Quezon City’s 5th congressional district, until the party dropped her in November in the wake of the controversy.
Editor’s note: Earlier versions of this story, said incumbent representative Alfred Vargas is running. It is his brother, PM Vargas, who is running. This has been corrected.