ABS-CBN News : Comelec urges public to report vote buying incidents

23 March 2022

By ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The public is urged to report vote buying incidents to the Commission on Elections, an official said Wednesday.

The poll body have created a task force against vote buying and has ordered its field personnel to investigate reports, according to Comelec commissioner George Garcia.

"Please file the necessary complaints so we can study the evidence presented…We want a formal investigation so that a formal charge or case can be had. We cannot file based only on news reports," he told ANC's Headstart.

"We will need these reports not only to sanction field personnel, but at the same time we’d like to strengthen the evidence in the event a case will be filed."

Videos of an alleged cash distribution during an event of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos in Nueva Ecija have circulated on social media. The videos showed supposed attendees being handed envelopes reportedly with P500 inside.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, meantime, defended giving away cash prizes on Tuesday, saying the official campaign period for local candidates has yet to start on Friday.

The beginning of the local campaign period may be an argument but "there's also a question in the case of vote buying whether there can be a conspiracy to buy vote," Garcia said, without naming any politician.

"This is very important, that is the reason why I've been emphasizing as a lawyer, file the formal case, let them answer because in their counter-affidavit I can see whether the defense is valid or not or whether the evidence will start in court," he said.

"A formal case is what's necessary but definitely we will investigate."

Meantime, the Comelec resolution on the dispute of two PDP-Laban factions is expected to be released "hopefully before the end of the month," Garcia said.

The newly-appointed Comelec official earlier said he would inhibit from cases of his former clients, which include members of the ruling party.