Comelec-Pangasinan admits receiving reports about vote buying

Comelec-Pangasinan admits receiving reports about vote buying

DAGUPAN CITY — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here has confirmed receiving reports of alleged vote buying by certain candidates and their group but could not act unless there is a proper complaint and the complainant must present credible evidence attesting to the offense committed.

Saying vote-buying is an election offense, Provincial Elections Supervisor Joel Gines said without any formal complaint, all these talks about vote buying could just be considered as mere allegations and his office could not act on them.

He said vote-buying is hard to prove unless the receiver of the money submits an affidavit attesting that he is a recipient of the money given by the candidate and his leaders.

Under the Omnibus Election Act, not only the vote-buyer is liable but also the receiver, that is why it is seldom that receivers admit receiving money in exchange for his/her vote.

In one town of Pangasinan, a report said voters are given as high as P1,000 each and in another town, P1,500 each by certain provincial candidates.

There was a report that before one is handed an envelope containing cash and a sample ballot, he has to be photographed first and is asked to leave his precinct number.

Gines admitted that vote buying is difficult to prove unless the vote-buyer is caught on the spot in the presence of the candidate.

Thus, he advised the people to just vote according to their conscience even if they were recipients of money from vote-buyers. PNA/