INDANG, Cavite — The Commission on Elections is investigating one governor and 13 mayors who are allegedly involved in vote-buying activities for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), Comelec chairperson George Garcia said Monday.
“Mayroon po kaming iniimbestigihang isang governor, 13 mayor sapagkat mukhang sa bahay pa nila nagdi-distribute, ‘yung iba mga pag-aari pa nila,”Garcia told reporters in a chance interview here after he cast his vote at Banaba Cerca Integrated School.
(We are investigating one governor and 13 mayors because it appears like they are doing vote-buying activities inside their residences.)
Garcia then told local government officials to keep their hands off the BSKE.
“So ‘yun po ang sinasabi natin na sana hindi na lang nakikialam ang mga ilang opisyal ng local government sapagkat alam niyo po lalo lang nagugulo ang halalan sa barangay at SK,” he added.
Earlier in the day, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. reminded Filipinos not to engage in vote-buying.
The President made the remark after he cast his vote in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.
“Ang payo ko lang sa ating mga kababayan, huwag niyong itatapon ang inyong karapatan na makapili ng inyong mga barangay official, dahil alam niyo naman na ang mga barangay official ang mga kaharap ninyo araw-araw. Ito ang mga tinatakbuhan ninyo para makatulong sa inyong problema,” Marcos said.
(My advice to our kababayans is that they should not throw their rights to choose their barangay officials because these officials are the ones they face every day. You will go to them for your needs.)
“Kaya’t kung idadaan lang sa bayaran ay mawawala ang boses ninyo at hindi ninyo maipili kung sino ba ang dapat ba talaga na mamuno sa inyong barangay, at sino ang makakatulong sa inyo na harapin ang mga problema na araw-araw na dinadala ninyo sa mga barangay official,” he added.
(If you will just let them buy your votes, you cannot rightfully choose who will lead your barangays and who will help you address problems.)
Last Friday, Garcia said more than 100 BSKE candidates have allegedly participated in vote-buying.
Vote-buying and vote-selling are considered as election offenses under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Any person found guilty of election offense shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years.
Also, those found guilty will be denied the right to vote and prohibited from holding public office, and any political party found guilty of vote-buying will be fined. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News
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