Comelec: Vote buyers can be disqualified-A A +A
Friday, November 1, 2013
THE Commission on Election (Comelec) said it will nullify the proclamation of the winning candidates if they are proven to be engaging in vote-buying practices during the recently-concluded barangay elections.
“There were instances before that proclaimed candidates were disqualified due to vote buying cases,” said Renato Magbutay, Comelec in Northern Mindanao regional director.
Magbutay said his office has received call of complaints about vote buying but there were no formal complaints filed yet against candidates accused of buying votes to win the recent elections.
Magbutay added that complainants can go to Comelec so it can take the appropriate actions against alleged vote buyers in the recent barangay elections.
“We request the complainants to come to a proper forum so that the regional office can conduct investigations about the case,” said Magbutay.
To prove that a candidate violated the codes of conduct for elections, Comelec-10 will evaluate the complaints and assign an investigator to look closely, and prove further if the alleged violations were actually made during the elections.
“The candidates can also file cases directly to the office of the prosecutor,” said Magbutay, referring to the other methods of filing charges against candidates involved in vote buying.
Magbutay added that other venues to file complaints are the city election officers, the provincial election supervisors, and the Comelec municipal officers.
Proclamation of winners in Barangay Carmen was suspended because of a petition filed by Clarissa Mae Suan – a candidate for punong barangay.
According to Ruel Basilan, election assistant II of the city’s Comelec office, there was an order sent by Comelec Manila “to suspend the proclamation of winners” because of the petition.
“Bisan kinsa pa ang nidaog (regardless of who won the election),” said Basilan pertaining to the effectiveness of the order to suspend the proclamation.
Suan’s brother, Bans Gualberto, told Sun.star Cagayan de Oro City that they filed a petition against a nuisance candidate named Juanito “Gerlie” Suan before the elections.
Clarissa Mae, also known as “Girlie” (with an ‘i’), uses the same nickname even before she ran for public office.
“Obviously the guy does not even exist,” said Gualberto.
Gualberto said Comelec had decided that Juanito Suan was a nuisance candidate and that only Clarissa Mae Suan can be declared as a winner if her votes totaled higher than her opponent.
“However, Clarissa got lower votes than his opponent that is why Comelec suspended the proclamation,” said Gualberto explaining the reason behind the delayed proclamation.
“Walay na’y mga controversies (There were no controversies),” said Magbutay about the success of the recent elections.
He added that the entire electoral process was “generally peaceful and successful.”
Magbutay said based on statistics, out of 2,022 barangays who had participated in the elections in the region, they have proclaimed 2,019 punong barangays (village chairman) and sangguniang barangay members (village councilors).
Magbutay said he is also thankful of the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)–Cagayan de Oro City, Philippine National Police (PNP), all the candidates and the voters who helped the elections more successful.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on November 01, 2013.