May 17, 2013
Cateel, Davao Oriental – Days before the actual elections, mayoralty candidate Camilo Nuñez, brother of Davao Oriental incumbent and reelectionist governor Corazon Malanyaon was reportedly buying votes here by luring voters with ‘libreng pabahay’ cards worth P21,000 each.
The poll watchdog Kontra Daya said cases of vote-buying has been rampant in Cateel, Davao Oriental before and during election day. Kontra Daya was able to get a photo of the said pabahay cards.
A 20-year-old voter from Barangay Poblacion said he received the ‘libreng pabahay’ card on May 12 from village leaders known as “bagmen” of the Nuñez-Malanyaon clan. They were told that the card will serve as a claim stub for the houses that the province will distribute few months after Nuñez wins the elections.
“Maglisod mi ug tuo kung tinuod ba gyud ning pabahay card nga gipanghatag nila. Basta ingon, ihatag daw nila kung muduag si Mayor [Camilo Nuñez],” said the source.
Aside from the ‘libreng pabahay’ cards, the source claimed that they also received cash and goods from the coordinators of the political siblings.
“Naay bugas ug sardinas nga gihatag sugod Abril,” he added.
“Our three days of monitoring in Davao Oriental shows deplorable vote-buying in this Typhoon Pablo-hit province. The people know that the goods being given out are from Pablo disaster funds but are being used by candidates for their electoral bid. This proves how local politicians could be so rabid, using the people’s own money for their vested interests,” said Krista Melgarejo, spokesperson of Kontra Daya.
Another source said that vote-buying and fraud are systematically practiced by the coordinators of the two political siblings in their town. According to him, vote-buying was done during the actual voting.
“Kung botante ka, musulod ka sa usa ka presinto, bantayan ka sa watcher nila. Pagnaka-boto na ka, naay papel nga ihatag ang watcher, confirmation na nga niboto ka [sa ilaha]. Pagkahuman, makadawat na ka ug sobre pagka-gawas nimo [sa presinto],” he said.
He added that, “Sa mga layo nga barangay, grabe gyud. Wala na silay labot bisag naay mga opisyales sa Comelec o pulis.”
Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code defines vote buying as giving, offering, or promising money, favors, or jobs in exchange for getting a person’s vote for the principal or causing the person to vote against somebody else. It holds criminally liable both the vote buyer and vote seller.
Persons found guilty faces a prison term of one to six years and shall be permanently barred from holding any public office as well as denied their right of suffrage.
“The Comelec should take action on these violations of the election code. The case of extreme vote-buying in Davao Oriental must be investigated and appropriate action should be implemented. With the massive use of taxpayer’s money to buy votes, the integrity of this elections remain doubtful” Melgarejo concluded.
Kontra Daya SMR