Comelec to probe raid of Navotas poll briefing
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will investigate the alleged warrantless raid of a poll watchers' briefing in Navotas City, as the poll body explores possible legal moves.
"Siguro mas mainam imbestigahan muna namin ang facts kasi katulad ako hindi ko rin alam ang facts. So tingnan natin ano ang facts diyan, then tingnan natin ano ang magiging legal action natin," said Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas in a press conference on Sunday evening, May 12.
(Perhaps it will be better if we first investigate the facts, because as for me, I don't know the facts. So let us check the facts first, then we will see what could be our legal action.)
Abas said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) requested that they be "deputized" in Navotas, "pero if I'm not mistaken, mukhang denied 'yon (but if I'm not mistaken, I think that was denied)."
Abas said it is possible that the NBI has "no authority" – except if they belong to the Comelec's task force against vote buying.
This comes after NBI agents on Sunday conducted a warrantless raid of a poll watchers' briefing in Navotas City for alleged vote buying.
Election lawyer Emilio Marañon III said he asked the NBI agents if they had a search or arrest warrant, but they told him a warrant was not needed.
"The NBI said there was no need for a warrant because it was an entrapment operation. They said someone posed as a watcher and told them he received money," Marañon told Rappler in Filipino.
Most of the poll watchers in the briefing were hired by Marañon's client, Marielle del Rosario, who is running for Navotas City representative under Aksyon Demokratiko against outgoing Mayor John Rey Tiangco. The other watchers present were for Akbayan, according to Marañon.
"This is lawlessness. The law is weaponized. My client is not engaged in vote buying," Marañon said. – with reports from Camille Elemia/Rappler.com