BACOLOD CITY — Thirty people suspected to be engaged in vote-buying were arrested by police in the towns of Moises Padilla and E.B. Magalona in Negros Occidental hours before voting started on Monday.
Around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, a total of 28 persons, including three minors, were intercepted at Barangay 7 in the town proper of Moises Padilla.
Based on police report, one group was found in possession of 600 sample ballots. Twelve more sample ballots, each folded along with two PHP500 bills, were also seized from their companions.
The 28 suspects were comprised of 15 males and 10 females, aside from the three minors. They were on board a passenger jeepney and a tricycle traveling towards Barangay Odiong.
The 12 sample ballots with money were seized from those in the tricycle while those in the jeepney possessed the bundle of 600 sample ballots.
Jessie Suarez, head of the Task Force on Commission on Elections (Comelec) Control in Moises Padilla, said in a radio interview that those arrested will be charged for committing a prohibited act under the Omnibus Election Code.
They were considered to be still campaigning even after the campaign period already ended, he noted.
In E.B. Magalona, the police arrested two persons on board a motorcycle possessing envelopes containing samples ballots and cash at around 4:30 a.m. in Barangay Tuburan.
Capt. Jaynick Bermudez, town police chief, said in a radio interview that while responding to a separate incident, they saw a motorcycle and called the attention of the riders.
The driver stopped, but refused to take off his helmet, and when he attempted to drive away, a member of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team stopped him. The motorcycle fell on its side, and the contents of the driver’s package were revealed.
Bermudez said they recovered 127 brown envelopes, each containing a sample ballot and a PHP1,000 bill.
The total cash recovered amounted to PHP127,000, he added.
Bermudez said he referred the case to the Comelec and he received an instruction to file raps against the arrested persons. (Nanette Guadalquiver,NDB)