CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Amid reports of vote buying that transpired in the province, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has urged voters and witnesses to immediately file cases against Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) candidates who were allegedly engaged in such illegal activities.
Comelec-Pampanga Provincial Director Lydia Pangilinan confirmed to SunStar Pampanga that there are indeed complaints of vote buying alluding to various candidates for the barangay and SK election.
Pangilinan said that the Comelec cannot act upon such complaints until formal cases will be filed before their respective local police units or the Prosecutor’s Office.
“We received many complaints of vote buying, especially from anonymous sources. However, it will remain a complaint unless they take it to the police or to the Prosecutor’s Office. That is why we encourage complainants to formally file charges so that their cases will progress and we can sanction those who really engaged in vote buying,” she said.
Once cases are filed, Pangilinan said that the Comelec, together with the Department of Justice, will investigate and look for substantial evidence that will prove the case against identified barangay or SK candidates.
If proven that a candidate initiated, participated or engaged in any vote-buying activity, his certificate of candidacy will immediately be cancelled, and winning candidates will not assume the post, Pangilinan stressed.
She added that aside from it, candidates will also be charged under the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, which may include perpetual disqualification on any government posts, and/or imprisonment.