ILOILO City – A vote is sacred. No one should sell or buy it this May 13, 2019 midterm elections.
Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Roberto Salazar fielded this statement one day before the conduct of elections in a bid to discourage vote-buying and -selling.
Vote-buying and -selling are prohibited acts under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.
These are committed when a person “gives, offers or promises money or anything of value; gives or promises any office or employment, franchise or grant, public or private, or makes or offers to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly; or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.”
According to Salazar, the right to suffrage makes rich and poor people equal during elections.
“Ang vote-buying and vote-selling are illegal. So gina-discourage naton ang mga tawo sa pagbaton sang kwarta halin sa politiko kabaylo sang ila nga boto,” said Salazar. “Isa ini ka deretso kag kinamatarong naton kay sa rason nga sa adlaw lang sang election kita alalangay, manggaranon ka man ukon imol.”
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has already issued a standing order urging the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) to intensify police visibility operations on days leading to May 13 to monitor vote-selling and -buying.
Salazar said they believe that this measure will help avert the incidence of vote-selling and -buying.
“Ang police visibility daku nga bulig para malikawan ang pagbaklanay sang boto,” added Salazar.
As of this writing, the poll body official has yet to have the number of vote-selling and –buying cases in the province.
But according to IPPO director Colonel Marlon Tayaba, four persons were caught on May 10 allegedly buying votes in Sitio Pangpang, Barangay Poblacion, Ajuy, Iloilo.
These individuals were Fe Durban, 50, Nemia Arellado, 58, Solomon Unay, 52, and Edwin Yamsong, 59.
Recovered from their possession were two sample ballots, one white envelope containing a P1,000 bill, two empty white envelopes, and lists of voters in Barangay Poblacion, Ajuy.
The arrested individuals will face charges for violation of the Omnibus Election Code./PN