DAGUPAN CITY — Amid reports of massive vote buying in Pangasinan, the provincial election supervisor, Atty. Joel Gines, challenged voters to “be wise and intelligent” in choosing their candidates in the coming May 9 polls.
“If there is vote buying and you cannot avoid it, you get the money but vote for the deserving and whom you think can make your place better,” said Gines.
Gines was interviewed by reporters just after the “Usapang Kapayapaan” forum for congressional candidates in Pangasinan at the Star Ocean-Star Plaza Hotel, Dagupan City on Tuesday (April 26) where he was among the speakers.
Gines said they have been receiving reports on vote buying through text messages from anonymous senders, which their office is immediately acting upon.
However, he admitted that vote buying is difficult to prove in court.
Gines explained that vote buying, being a criminal offense, requires a proof beyond reasonable doubt or quantum of evidence, including the admittance of both the buyer and seller of the vote.
“It’s really difficult to prove vote buying in courts, and chances are the cases get dismissed often,” he added.
Earlier, Gov. Amado Espino Jr. advised voters to accept the money reportedly being distributed by some candidates and who also allegedly require recipients of the money to give their precinct number as well as consent on being photographed.
Meanwhile, Gines disclosed that only 10 members of the local media have applied for absentee voting which will be held today, April 27.
For the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, they will be voting in their respective units, he added.
At the same time, Gines said mall voting in Pangasinan is set at the CB Mall in Urdaneta City.
About 1,700 voters from two clustered precincts in Barangay Nancayasan, Urdaneta City will be voting at CB Mall. PNA/northboundasia.com