Cebu News

Police: Vote-buying hard to prove

Mae Clydyl L. Avila - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Reports of vote-buying activities marred the recently concluded midterm elections but both police and the Commission on Elections admitted that these are hard to prove.

In a critique session led by Comelec, Philippine National Police, and other concerned agencies in the regional police headquarters yesterday, among the matters discussed were the reports and arrests made for alleged vote-buying activities.

Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 Director Debold Sinas explained that it is a challenge to prove who bought and who accepted money.

Sinas said it is also harder to prove any vote buying if a candidate will exercise citizen’s arrest against an opposing candidate.

Based on previous reports, there were 120 reported cases of vote buying -- two in Cebu City; three in Cebu Province; two in Bohol; one in Negros Oriental and one in Siquijor.

However, there were only nine arrests made -- five in Cebu City; one in Negros Oriental; and three in Cebu Province.

There was a total P21,270 cash confiscated.

Among those arrested was Jose Sabas Cane, 52, Barangay Captain of Looc, Danao City.

But Cane and two others were released as advised by Comelec lawyer Ferdinand Gujilde to avoid trouble with their supporters.

Also accosted last May 11 were John Paul Nabua Mahinay, SK secretary and Kyle Dublin Baricuatro, SK councilor, both of Barangay Cogon Ramos, and two others.

According to a press statement from Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), the four were caught giving out envelopes with cash and a flier of a candidate.

They were brought to Camp Sotero Cabahug, the headquarters of CCPO located on Gorordo Avenue.

Two others, namely, Theodoric Gesta Pepito and Anjo Tundag Pepito were also apprehended in checkpoints for alleged possession of vote buying materials.

Recovered from them were almost P5,000 worth of cash and fliers of a candidate.

However, charges against them were dropped due to lack of evidence.

On the other hand, National Intelligence Council Agency (NICA)-7 Chief Augusto Marquez Jr. said possession of money is not illegal.

He added new legislations must be proposed with specific provisions that would make it easier to determine vote buying. — MBG (FREEMAN)


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