4 incidents of vote buying in provinces
MANILA, Philippines - It's one day before the mid-term elections and vote-buying incidents have been increasing across the provinces.
In the last three days there have been reports of vote-buying across Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Cavite and Cebu with prices ranges from P500 - P1,000.
Article 22 of the Omnibus Election Code defines vote buying as the offer or promise of money or anything of value, including employment, in order to influence anyone to vote for or against any candidate.
Vote buying and selling are criminal offenses and under the Philippine law merits imprisonment from one to six years.
Below are Rappler's aggregated reports of vote buying incidents in the past 2 to 3 days.
Panic buying in the provinces
1. Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur
Rappler received reports of alleged vote buying in Pagadian City on Sunday, May 12.
Residents reported they received P500 and P1,000 in cash with sample ballots of local candidates from both United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and Liberal Party (LP). Others received coupons which can be exchanged for cash at the party headquarters.
According to residents, the identified baranggay 'leaders' or representatives of the parties informed them that they will be receiving more cash after elections. Residents refer to this as “backing.”
It remains elusive how this system is implemented and if it actually works.
A video posted on Facebook revealed gubernatorial candidate Ayong Maliksi caught on camera in his office, sitting beside a table full of envelopes.
The envelopes were distributed to a queue of people waiting to receive it, who then exchanged handshakes with Maliksi. The envelopes were reported to contain P1,000 each.
The video was shown in ABS-CBN’s TVPatrol on Saturday, May 11.
Asked to react about the video, Maliksi told Rappler, “It’s an allowance for the baranggay officials for the election day’.
3. Santander, Cebu
According to the Cebu-based newspaper, Sun Star, four men originally from Negros Oriental were arrested in Santander, a town located in Cebu’s second district, for vote buying on Sunday, May 12.
Police responded to a phone call received from a citizen who informed them about four men giving out envelopes to residents of the town.
According to police, one of the men arrested was in possession of 20 white envelopes with P1,000 each and shaded sample ballots. The shaded ovals on the sample ballot were that of gubernatorial candidate, Pablo John Garcia and vice governor, Boboy Durano running under the local slate, One Cebu.
In addition, the sample ballots contained a list of senatorial candidates from UNA and the party list group, Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD).
4. Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte
According to the Mindanao-based online newspaper Mindanews, four people were arrested in Dipolog City, on Wednesday, May 8 at the beach house owned by Gov Rolando Yebes of Zamboanga del Norte.
According to police, the suspects were caught in possession of 5 sample ballots of provincial candidates running under the UNA party list with paper bills amounting to P3,000 attached.
Yebes denied the allegation of vote buying in his residence and the money that was stapled with sample ballots.
Yebes is currently seeking position as representative of the 2nd district of Zamboanga del Norte under UNA party. - with reports from Bon S. Cabiles and Rappler Ambassador, James Annjo Salomon/ Rappler.com
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