Senior citizen charged for ‘buying votes’

A CRIMINAL complaint was filed against a 66-year-old woman for allegedly buying votes in Barangay Lorega-San Miguel, Cebu City on election day, May 13.

Suspect Andrea Fernandez was charged with violation of Section 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code, which prohibits vote-buying and vote-selling activities before the city prosecutor’s office on Tuesday, May 14, according to Parian Police Station Chief Armando Labora.

Fernandez was caught distributing sample ballots of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) with a P100 bill attached to each ballot. Seized from her were P1,300 in cash and a cellphone.

Buying of votes is a bailable offense.

During the inquest proceeding, Fernandez opted not to file a counter-affidavit, and she did not avail herself of her right to preliminary investigation. She will face trial.

Labora said they are waiting for the prosecutor’s charge sheet, which they will endorse to the court.

Cebu City Councilor Sisinio Andales of BOPK said the police should also charge the person who received the payment.

In Danao City, three persons, including a village official, were released from police custody after they were caught for allegedly engaging in a vote-buying activity.

Election officer Ferdinand Gujilde, a lawyer, advised the police to release Looc Barangay Captain Joselito Cane, 54, Marilou Montilla and Jethro Imalay because they were caught by a civilian, according to Police Staff Sergeant Renante Manulat.

The suspects were placed under citizen’s arrest by vice mayoral candidate and lawyer Michael Enriquez.

Recovered from the suspects were cash amounting to P10,000, a payroll and sample ballots of Bakud Party.

Manulat said the suspects will be facing criminal charges, while Cane will face a separate administrative complaint for being a public official.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu, Enriquez said he will first consult Rep. Gwen Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), the governor-elect, before taking legal action. (WBS with RVC)


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