PNP backpedals, files vote buying case vs Bingbong Crisologo
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – After stressing they will only accuse Quezon City mayoral candidate Bingbong Crisologo of obstruction of justice, Quezon City cops took a step back and filed a vote buying complaint against him on Monday, May 13.
According to the resolution of Assistant City Prosecutor Felomina Apostol Lopez, cops filed a case for violation of Section 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code – vote buying and selling.
Aside from the obstruction of justice case, cops also accused Crisologo of unjust vexation, disobedience and resisting arrest, direct assault of a person of authority, and illegal detention.
Over an hour now since Bingbong Crisologo was brought to the Quezon City prosecutor's office for inquest. Still no decision according to sources inside.— Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) May 13, 2019
Prosecutors deciding whether his arrest was valid, and if case is solid enough for hearing in court. #PHVote @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/AezRLy1iUU
What happened? Crisologo was arrested on Sunday evening, May 12, after he was called by his supporters to a house in Barangay Bahay Toro where they were supposedly preparing to be poll watchers for the big day. Cops, however, believe the house was used as a vote buying site, arresting over 40 staffers in one go.
The supporters called on Crisologo who rushed to the scene and held the operating cops — intelligence agents in civilian attire—inside the house. Lieutenant Colonel Alex Alberto, the commander of the station that covered the area, met with Crisologo in the scene and told the lawmaker to release his men. Crisologo allegedly refused while throwing expletives at Alberto and his men, thus compelling cops to arrest him.
Some 44 supporters were arrested in the area for alleged vote buying. Cops, however, just recovered P800 from the scene.
The prosecutor’s verdict: The prosecutor, however, said that cops need more field work to do, deciding the case should undergo preliminary investigation where each camp submits more testimonies and pieces of evidence before the fiscal discerns whether the case should be heard in court or dismissed. (READ: Crisologo to sue Quezon City police for 'illegal arrest')
“The evidence is presently unclear that the crime of vote buying and vote selling took place. There is no showing of a clear offer to purchase a vote and the acceptance of the offer,” Apostol Lopez said in her resolution.
She added: “As to the complaint for Obstruction of Justice, Unjust Vexation, Direct Assault, Grave Coercion, Resistance and Disobedience, Usurpation, and Illegal Detention, the circumstances surrounding the incident and the exact participation of each of the respondents have to be threshed out more thoroughly.” – Rappler.com
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story erroneously identified the QCPD Station 3 Commander as Alex Arturo. This has been corrected.