THE number of cases of possible vote buying have already reached 10 and these are now being investigated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in relation to the May 9 national and local elections.
The said number was arrived at after filtering a voluminous number of reports of vote-buying complaints sent to the official email address and social media pages of the poll body.
According to Comelec Task Force Kontra Bigay head Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, they will conduct a thorough probe on allegations of vote-buying and vote-selling incidents.
“Pursuant to its moto proprio powers, the Comelec, through the Task Force Kontra Bigay, has created a team dedicated to investigate possible vote-buying and vote-selling cases committed during the 2022 National and Local Elections and to file the same even without a citizen complaint,” the Task Force Kontra Bigay said in a statement.
“As of today, We have ten active cases and counting as we are continually receiving numerous reports and complaints of vote-buying in our official email address and Facebook page,” adds the statement from the task force issued on Saturday morning.
The Comelec said one possible case of vote-buying can move forward via its partnership with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE).
“We are also pleased to announce that with the cooperation of the IBP and LENTE, we have one possible case for vote-buying as the complainant has already executed an affidavit and submitted pieces of evidence,” ayon pa sa Task Force.
The Task Force Kontra Bigay again urged the public that it’s not just about reporting a complaint but it should be accompanied by an active participation in the investigation process such as the submission of an affidavit and other forms of evidence so that those involved in vote buying will be answerable to the law.
Complaints of vote-buying and vote-selling can be reported to the Comelec via the Office of the Election Officer and Department of Justice through the National Prosecution Service. Complainants can also ask assistance from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Lente, and Task Force Kontra Bigay for the formal filing of a complaint.
In relation to this, the talk force again issued a stern warning to candidates that may become involved with vote-buying.
“Please be advised that any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding office,” the task force points out.