CANDIDATES for local office, including re-election campaigners, and the lone congressional seat in Romblon have called on the Electoral Commission (Comelec) to investigate what they have called “widespread” Provincial vote-buying by incumbent officials allied with presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bong bong” R. Marcos, Jr.
“It‘is very alarming. Already in the first week of this month, Romblon’s vote purchases were reported in several cities.” Provincial Executive Jose M. Madrid, who is seeking re-election under the Aksyon Demokratiko party, is quoted in a press release following a recent press conference held in the city of Odiongan.
Mr Madrid told acting officials “under the party of presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos” have begun compiling a list of voters who will receive cash gifts a day before the May 9 elections.
“It‘This time it’s supposedly a different way of buying votes Ayudais a cash support under the government‘s social assistance program and not by the state government,” he said.
The George Erwin M. Garcia Electoral Commission initially declined to comment on the issue.
“No comments po muna in the meantime,” he said business world via Viber.
Jean Encinas-Franco, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, said Comelec should investigate the issue without delay to maintain credibility in the 2022 election and allay fears that the presidency race is very favorable for Mr Marcos.
She said in a text message that the Comelec should thoroughly investigate the incident and prove its independence since it is now governed by people whose charters of appointment were signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“All the more so that she should prove her independence.”
Mr. Marcos’ spokesman, Victor D. Rodriguez, did not respond to a request for comment about Viber.
The press conference was attended by Congressional candidate Joey G. Venancio, also running under Aksyon Demokratiko; Liberal Party‘s Eduardo C. Firmalo, a former governor seeking the same position; and Lieutenant Governor Felix F. Ylagan, who is seeking re-election under Aksyon Demokratiko.
Mr Firmalo said penalties against people involved in vote-buying, particularly candidates themselves, should be severe. — with reports from John Victor D Ordoñez and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza