Rampant vote buying in Negros Occidental
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Rampant vote buying allegedly took place throughout Negros Occidental during yesterday’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
In Bacolod City, vote buying was reported in Barangays 2, 18, Alijis, and Estefania, where voters were provided between P20 and P2,000 in exchange for votes.
Police Station 2 (PS2) received three complaints from Barangay 18, where an individual was said to be handing out sample ballots with P2,000 enclosed. In addition, a source close to Watchmen Daily Journal claimed residents in Purok DC-1 RPHS, Barangay Alijis received P200.
Meanwhile, in Barangay Estefania, a sample ballot including P50 was captured and posted on social media.
La Castellana Mayor Rhumyla Nicor-Mangilimutan said vote buying was allegedly taking place in the town’s Barangay Robles, prompting her to deploy police officers to look into the matter.
In response to the illegal activity, Bacolod City Commission on Elections (Comelec) elections officer, Atty. Mavil Majarucon-Sia, said the public can execute a “citizen’s arrest” against any individual caught violating election laws.
The local elections supervisor added, the local Comelec office is also capable of filing complaints against candidates engaging in vote buying.
Aside from vote buying, Majarucon-Sia also said she has received reports of ‘flying voters’ in some of the city’s barangays.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño, meanwhile, warned violating candidates that his office will file charges against them before the Comelec if allegations are proven true.
Diño also confirmed some governors, mayors, and congressmen are actively intervening in the polls in order to position barangay officials in preparation for next year’s midterm elections./DGB, WDJ