POLICE have arrested 441 individuals for vote-buying and recorded a total of 225 such incidents as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 14.
Eight minors, who were also used for vote-buying, were rescued by the police.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said on Tuesday, May 14, that they are hoping to further strengthen their capability to address vote-buying and selling activities in future elections.
Albayalde said that unlike in the past years, the PNP now is more pro-active in apprehending personalities involved in vote-buying.
He admitted that there were reports of “massive” vote-buying during the 2019 national midterm elections.
“There are several factors we attribute itong vote-buying. Una, automated na kasi ang election natin. Seemingly sabi ng Comelec (Commission on Elecetion) ‘yung VCMs (vote counting machines) ay incorruptible so the tendency ng mga kumakandidato is they go directly to the voters and isa pa wala pa tayong nakita na kandidato na masuspindi or even be placed under investigation for alleged vote-buying,” he said.
“Napakahirap i-prove ‘yung kumakandidato ay may kinalaman sa pera (vote-buying). Although we are able to arrest number of people but we expect by 2022 baka mas tumaas or mas lumala pa ‘yung reports or alleged vote-buying. Ito siguro pwede tingnan for the coming 2022 elections dahil sigurado marami pang allegations of vote-buying come 2022,” he added.
Asked what needs improvement, Albayalde said they need to boost their communication capability for a more efficient reporting of what is happening on the ground as well as the coordination among the security forces.
The PNP chief echoed the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that vote-buying “has become a culture” in the Philippines but they are hoping that the police can do its part to stop it.
Meanwhile, Albayalde commended the police forces for the conduct of a peaceful and safe elections.
He said among the factors that contributed to their efficiency in minimizing election-related violence is their early preparation which started since last year.
Albayalde said there is a notable 60 percent decrease in the number of election-related incidents to 43, involving 73 victims, compared to the 106 incidents with 192 victims during the 2016 National and Local Elections.
“Napakalaki sigurong contribution ‘yung naging effort since last year nung nag-umpisa tayo mag-ooperate ng mga risk factors na tinatawag gaya ng pag-reduce ng PAGs (private Armed Groups) or ‘yung paggamit ng mga gun for hire ng mga ibang kumakandidato,” he said.
He said over 5,500 illegal firearms and other deadly weapons were confiscated by the PNP during the implementation of the Comelec gun ban.
He said these firearms could have been used for violence during the election period. (SunStar Philippines)