Friday August 17, 2018

DILG submits evidence of vote buying to Comelec

MANILA. A member of the Board of Election Inspectors assists a voter in Batasan Hills, Quezon City in casting his vote during the Barangay and SK elections on May 14, 2018. (Alfonso Padilla/SunStar Philippines)

THE Department of Interior and Local Government has submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reports and evidence of vote-buying and other violations of election laws, rules and regulations that were documented before and during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Monday, May 14.

DILG Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said Thursday, May 17, that a total of 41 reports with evidence such as videos and photos were submitted to the Comelec on Wednesday for investigation and appropriate legal action.

Comelec is the government agency mandated to investigate and hold accountable all individuals, including government officials, who contravene election laws, rules and regulations.

Malaya said the reports were received particularly by the office of DILG undersecretary for barangay affairs Martin Diño from across the country.

"We are pleased that our voters are now more vigilant and protective of their rights. We thank them for the reports we have received which we are now forwarding to the Comelec," he said.

"The DILG is in close coordination with the Comelec and we are ready to assist and support them if there are violations of election laws by LGU officials. As to members of Congress, that is within the mandate of Comelec and not the DILG," he added.

Malaya said more reports of election-related violations will be forwarded to the Comelec in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Diño said he will push for the enactment of a law penalizing any barangay candidate who will be found guilty of seeking the support of other higher elected government officials such as Mayors, congressmen and governors.

Earlier, Diño said they have received various reports that several mayors, congressmen and governors were involved in the whittling of barangay candidates in a single party in favor of their bets.

He said it was a form of harassment to ensure that their bets would win and help campaign during the 2019 national elections.

“Once and for all gumawa ng batas ang kongreso in aid of legislation na ‘yung mga barangay captain or kandidato na lalapit sa congressman ay ma-penalize natin dahil una mga pulitiko sila, kapag lumapit sa kanila alam mo naman may pangangailangan din sila sa darating na halalan e hindi sila makakahindi pero may batas na sila mismong gagawin na isang kasalanan at parusa kapag sila ay nilapitan nitong mga kumakandidato,” he said.

(There is a measure that penalizes barangay captains and candidates would be penalized if they ask for help from a congressman. These (congressmen) are politicians and they would need help during the upcoming elections.)

“Dapat kapag kumakandidato ka tayuan mo ‘yung pagiging kandidato mo, ikaw ang gumastos sa sarili mo (If you run for a government position, you should be prepared to spend for your campaign),” he added.

Meanwhile, Diño said the DILG is monitoring newly-elected barangay officials who were included in the narco-list released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

He said almost all of those on the narco-list who sought re-election in the just-concluded elections won.

“Tuloy tuloy ang demanda nila, tuloy-tuloy po yan at hindi natin lulubayan yan at ngayon sabi ko nga hindi ko lang sila titingnan, tititigan ko pa sila dahil nakabantay po ngayon ang DILG sa mga taong ito at baguhin nila estilo nila dahil talagang hindi namin sila lulubayan kasama PDEA at pulis,” said Dino.

(We will pursue the cases. We are monitoring them. They should change their ways because we will not stop.) (SunStar Philippines)