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Comelec: More vote buying cases to be filed

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is preparing to file more vote-buying cases in connection with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) last Monday.

Based on the latest report, the Kontra Bigay Task Force has received a total of 183 complaints of vote-buying, of which 27 have been formally filed while about 100 are under evaluation, according to Comelec Commissioner Ernesto Maceda Jr.

Maceda emphasized that the poll body is aware of other reports of vote-buying, including those coming from the media.

“But those reports have to be substantiated; we have to wait for formal complaints or check if there is enough evidence for us to file a case motu propio,” he said.

“We can make sure that we will bring the perpetrators to justice,” he added.

The Comelec can still pursue election offenses against those involved even after the actual polls, according to Maceda.

For preventing the proclamation of winning barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan candidates, a mayor in the Bicol Region is facing possible election offense charges.

Aside from the Bicol mayor, the poll body is also readying legal suits against those who have caused delays in the conduct of elections in five barangays in Lanao del Sur, according Comelec Chairman George Garcia.

At a press briefing yesterday, Garcia warned local government officials against interfering with the conduct of the elections as well as the proclamation of winning candidates.

In particular, he reported that a mayor in Bicol prevented the Barangay Board of Canvassers (BBOC) from proclaiming winners in at least seven areas.

“They are interfering… they’re saying don’t proclaim yet. So we ordered our regional director that the BBOC should proclaim today at all costs. We don’t care about whoever is calling the shots or giving pressure because the mayor might get angry,” he said in Filipino.

The Comelec chief noted that the poll body sees no other reason behind the mayor’s action, except for the possibility that the official is not in favor of the election results.

Garcia, however, stressed that the local government official has no authority to meddle with the mandate of the Comelec to conduct the