THE Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed the charges of vote buying against two Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials of Barangay Cogon Ramos and two others filed by the police for lack of probable cause.
In a seven-page joint resolution, Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño did not find sufficient evidence to charge respondents with the offense.
Casiño said the respondents sufficiently negated the allegation that the money found in their possession was intended to buy and sell votes.
The City Mobile Force Company (CMFC) of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) arrested SK councilor Kyle Baricuatro, 21; SK secretary John Paul Mahinay, 18; Anjo Pepito, 31; and Theodore Pepito, 33, for the alleged violation of Section 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code last May 11.
Mahinay and Baricuatro were allegedly caught placing bills inside envelopes with sample ballots of Councilor Jerry Guardo, who ran under Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).
Theodore and Anjo Pepito were also arrested because they allegedly received the envelopes.
The prosecutor was convinced that the money found in the possession of the respondents was for the prizes and uniform subsidy since there was a summer basketball league when the police operation happened.
“The circumstances of the incident as narrated by complainant-arresting officers are viewed as contrary to human experience when illegal or illicit trade or actions are done. Being known election violations, perpetrators would commonly hide on the cloak of darkness, use stealth or surreptitiously approach voters to induce them to vote for or against a candidate,” read a portion of the joint resolution.
“This did not hold true in the herein case. As established, the place of the incident was a public place, well-lighted and done in the presence of other civilians. The fact that the alleged recipients of vote buying were made to sign a payroll as proof of the election violation casts questions of credibility of the incident,” it added.