Cagayan de Oro City

P6,000 per vote? Cagayan de Oro barangay faces massive vote-buying controversy

Cong Corrales

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P6,000 per vote? Cagayan de Oro barangay faces massive vote-buying controversy
Namfrel says voters allegedly received as much as P6,000 each from one of the groups competing for Barangay Carmen council seats

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said it has monitored alleged extensive vote-buying activities in the most densely populated village in Cagayan de Oro.

In a press conference held on October 30, Nestor Banuag of Namfrel CDO-Misor informed reporters that some voters in one of the zones of Barangay Carmen allegedly received as much as P6,000 from one of the groups competing for barangay council seats.

Barangay Carmen is the political stronghold of Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy, whose family has held control of the village council for years. Uy’s son, former vice mayor Joaquin, widely known as Kikang, is running for the position of Carmen barangay chairman.

Adult, Male, Man
VOTE-BUYING. Nestor Banuag of the National Movement for Free Elections in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental tells reporters substantial amounts were allegedly received by some voters in one Cagayan de Oro barangay.

Kikang faces a strong challenge from Agapito “Jun” Suan, who is the father of Cagayan de Oro 1st District Representative Lordan Suan. The younger Suan defeated Kikang in the 2022 congressional race in the district.

The barangay is seen to be crucial in Cagayan de Oro elections, and can make or break candidacies.

Banuag said, “Vote-buying appears to be minimal now, but the recipients are receiving substantial amounts.”

He said vote-buying in the city has shifted from what initially seemed like widespread random distribution to a more targeted and well-planned approach.

Banuag also said Namfrel would refer complainants to its partner organizations, such as Lente.

Reports of alleged massive vote-buying in Carmen originated from social media posts, with hashtags #sanaolcarmen and #sanaol6k, which went viral since Saturday, October 28.

Banuag said the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections have been generally peaceful, with only isolated incidents of intimidation reported at polling centers. 

He said they have deployed 600 volunteers across the city and Misamis Oriental to monitor the polls.

Namfrel observed that most polling places opened as early as 6:30 am in the city and Misamis Oriental.

Banuag said, “There was an incident at the City Central school where watchers from opposing camps in Barangay 17 had an altercation inside a precinct.”

Rey Vincent Yaba, the external coordinator for Namfrel, said there was an incident of intimidation at Corrales Elementary School. 

“Our volunteer had to call the attention of the Department of Education supervisor in one precinct because candidates who had already finished voting were still present, talking to voters who had yet to cast their votes,” Yaba said. –

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