Convicted murderers, robbers fielded in May polls – PCIJ
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Convicted murderers and robbers – not only grafters – were among the winners in the last elections, a Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism report showed.

In the PCIJ report, seven convicts won in the elections under the Liberal Party-led Team PNoy, while three other criminals ran under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance and won.

“LP harbored under its wings the biggest number of candidates who had been convicted of a crime,” PCIJ’s post-election report released yesterday said.

“UNA, meanwhile, embraced three convicted candidates – all of whom won eventually – and fielded others who had been sued for estafa and murder, too. Six other elected UNA candidates are facing graft charges,” the PCIJ revealed.

Earlier, PCIJ said 244 officials convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan won in the elections.

“In the last elections, President Aquino summoned voters to support his allies and associates who would supposedly help fulfill his epic ‘Daang Matuwid’ project. Not to be outdone, Vice President Jejomar Binay and his opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), coined their own shibboleth to distinguish their candidates from Team PNoy: ‘Daang Maganda’,’’ the PCIJ said.

The report said “Daang Matuwid and Daang Maganda were nothing but brave but empty messages lost in translation to both administration and opposition political parties in the last balloting.”

“Indeed, both coalitions even became vehicles by which crime burrowed its way into politics, and politics into crime, in the May 2013 elections,” the PCIJ report said.

The report said the case of Melchor Maderazo, councilor-elect of Caibiran, Biliran, is most incredulous as LP fielded him as a candidate despite the Supreme Court’s upholding his conviction for a threat and coercion case way back in September 2006.

Noel Antonio, also an administration party bet for vice mayor of Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac, was charged with murder when he was mayor of the same town in May 1993. His case was dismissed in February 1998.

The PCIJ report said three LP candidates named in Sandiganbayan cases for alleged robbery lost in the elections. They were Norman Acierto of Masinloc, Zambales who ran for councilor; Owen Amor, who ran for provincial board member of Sorsogon; and Marius Ladio, who ran for vice mayor of Tayug, Pangasinan.

Another LP candidate with robbery case Carmen Jaminal won a council seat in Bohol.

In Claveria, Cagayan, the ruling party’s mayor-elect Pablo Bolante Jr. was sued for arbitrary detention in May 2005 while serving as mayor but his case was dismissed in March 2008.

Roel Degamo, LP’s governor-elect in Negros Oriental, was charged with physical injuries in October 2011 while serving as provincial board member but a month later, the case was dismissed.

UNA bet Edwin Bermudez, vice mayor-elect in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, was cleared of murder in October 2009 more than a year after the case was filed.

Six UNA candidates with pending cases won in last month’s elections, including mayor-elect Oscar Malapitan of Caloocan City, mayor-elect Isidro Cabaddu of Camalaniugan in Cagayan, mayor-elect Neptali Salcedo of Sara in Iloilo, vice mayor-elect Pedro Budiongan Jr. of Carmen in Bohol, vice mayor-elect Arthur Golez of Silay City, Negros Occidental; and vice mayor-elect Rolando Javier of Plaridel, Bulacan.

The PCIJ report said other political parties fielded candidates with pending cases or criminal records. Nacionalista Party (NP) candidates who won despite pending cases were mayor-elect Marilyn Marquez of Dinalungan, Aurora; mayor-elect Enrico Alvarez of Noveleta, Cavite; mayor-elect Calixto  Cataquiz of San Pedro, Laguna; vice mayor-elect Washington Taguinod of Peñablanca, Cagayan; and vice mayor-elect Freddie Chu of Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Pedro Bariata, councilor-elect of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur who ran under the Nationalist People’s Coalition, was acquitted of murder in February 1999. The murder case against him was filed in November 1994 when he was barangay chairman.

The PCIJ report said that based on records, 256 of the 504 candidates with graft and other criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan won in the elections.

Of the 504, 169 ran under President Aquino’s LP and 51 under UNA.

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