Tue, 24 May 2022

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Task Force Kontra Bigay (Anti-Bribe) has received more than 1,000 reports of vote-buying but nothing significant to affect the outcome of the May 9 polls.

In a press conference at the PICC Forum Tent in Pasay City on Saturday, Commissioner and task force chief Aimee Ferolino said they will file cases on at least 100 complaints that have supporting evidence.

The complaints involve candidates and supporters alike.

"As I've said, nanawagan tayo sa mga tao na kung magreklamo tayo kailangan may kalakip na ebidensya at mayroon din magti-testify kasi kahit gustuhin man namin na imbestigahan, we do not know where to start if you just give us mere complaints na hindi natin alam kung saan tayo patutungo (If you complain, we need evidence and witnesses because even if we want to investigate, we don't know where to start if you just give us mere complaints and we don't know where we are going)," Ferolino said.

Aside from the task force, Ferolino said complaints may also be filed before Comelec partners Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the Legal Network for Truthful (LENTE) Philippines, and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

"Pwede naman doon sila mag-execute ng affidavit, tutulungan sila or magpa-blotter sila kung ano man yung mga incident na nangyari (They can execute affidavit there, they will be assisted to put the report on blotter, whatever the incidents may be)," Ferolino said.

The Task Force Kontra Bigay's Facebook page, however, is the fastest mode to reach the commission as there are personnel manning the complaints section.

Based on the consolidated reports, Ferolino said complainants are not persistent because of fear and other forms of intimidation.

"We may be quite late but at least, we are receiving reports from people and who are already coming out. In the next elections, we will strengthen, we will look at our guidelines, and we will go out and convince more people because if they are afraid, sometimes they end up only complaining and want anonymity," she said.

The Comelec's random manual auditing started with four batches assigned for 757 random clustered precincts.

Each batch will work for seven days and auditing will last up to 45 days.

Around 400 reports from the fields have been submitted with supporting evidence as of Thursday.

IBP has assisted one voter who executed an affidavit complaint about vote-buying in six districts of Quezon City.

The law department has facilitated 73 vote-buying concerns, since February 9, of which 53 were acted upon and were docketed while the rest are under evaluation.

One case of vote-buying, involving the distribution of sample ballots with money in Cavite, has been reported to the PNP.

Comelec also received complaints against the poll body itself while some just shared their observance and frustrations.

Ferolino said the Kontra Bigay page has also become an outlet for upset supporters of losing candidates. (PNA)



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