2 men nabbed for ‘vote-buying’

ALLEGATIONS of vote-buying by local parties in Cebu City were among the issues that came out during yesterday’s polls.

Two men, who were alleged supporters of Team Rama and Ating Guro partylist, were caught for alleged possession of election paraphernalia and cash believed to be for vote-buying in Sta. Ana, Labangon, Cebu City at dawn yesterday.

The two men, identified as Marlon L. Baclayon and Adrian M. Rivera, were caught by barangay tanods Wisley Cellona and Jessie Areglo allegedly carrying 15 P100 bills, 14 P50 bills and P36 P20 bills; and folders and envelopes with watcher’s inventory sheets and poll watcher’s guides inside.

Cellona said that his team received a text message advising them to proceed to Sta. Ana to catch the two men who were allegedly engaged in vote-buying activities.

Cellona said that he and Areglo went to the area at 3 a.m. and caught Baclayon and Rivera riding on a motorcycle with the paraphernalia on their hands.

Baclayon and Rivera were turned over to the Punta Princesa Police Station.

Later yesterday, the two were brought to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office for the filing of the vote-buying complaint.

Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño, however, dismissed the complaint. Even if there were proof presented, these were not sufficient to prove the case filed against the two men.

For his part, Baclayon claimed, “I am only a victim of the dirty games of politics.” Rivera echoed Baclayon’s sentiment.

Sought for comment, Mayor Michael Rama said that “in any election, kanang pildero mangita jud nag rason, pero kami, wa mi mangita’g rason, kay daug man mi. (In any election, losers will always look for reasons, but for us, we don’t look for any reasons because we will win).”

Meanwhile, a voter of Barangay Guadalupe, who requested not to be named, claimed that she received a yellow and blue BOPK (Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan) card with a list of the candidates, the voter’s name and the precinct number. A P100 bill was also reportedly stapled on the card.

Another voter told Sun.Star Cebu that receiving cash stapled on a piece of paper with the candidates’ names has become a “common tradition.”

The voter, who spoke on anonymity, said that it has been practiced every election, and that it is not only done by BOPK, but by some other candidates.

She said that the distribution of money is being done by team leaders. She said that every sitio has an assigned team leader.

The team leader is the one who goes to the assigned candidates’ meetings and will also be the one who will get and distributes the money to the voters. Honey Cates Pacaña, CNU Intern
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