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Some poll cheats thwarted

18 May 2019



How do you win elections, especially when the count is computerized and hard to tamper with?
For those who want cheat to victory, there are two popular ways during the last elections: eliminate the opponent (or their supporters), or buy votes. Unfortunately for them, both of these are criminal offenses and in this election, law enforcers have arrested a number of people.

A report by the Philippine National Police (PNP) indicated that as of the weekend before the May 13 elections, 20 deaths had been recorded under cases of election-related violence.

In addition, the PNP also reported 43 cases of election-related violence, in which 25 involved shooting. PNP also reported 24 people injured mostly from shooting, mauling, assault, stabbing, slapping, harassment, strafing, robbery and illegal discharge of firearms.


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Police also seized 5,000 firearms and more than 42,000 other deadly weapons, causing the arrest of 5,316 people for illegal possession.

PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac noted that these numbers are lower than in the preelection periods in 2013 which had 142 victims in 94 incidents, and in 2016, with had 192 victims in 106 incidents.

“We aim to fully implement our police interventions so these [election-related violence] will no longer increase further,” PNP chief Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde said.


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The lower incidence of violence was unexpected, considering that 946 towns and cities had been identified as election “hot spots,” which needed police deployment. Three areas had been placed under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec)—Moises Padilla in Negros Occidental, Cotabato city in Maguindanao and Daraga in Albay.

The biggest case of pre-election violence involved the assassination of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his aide, and the wounding of six others on Dec. 22.

His rival for the mayorship of Daraga, Mayor Carlwyn Baldo of Daraga, Albay, has been detained after he surrendered to Judge Maria Therese San Juan-Lloquillano at the regional trial court on charges of double murder and six counts of attempted murder.

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Baldo had denied that he had any hand in the killing and that he was being used as a “convenient scapegoat”.

Daraga Vice Mayor Perete has since been named acting town mayor.

But the most number of arrests, at 441, involved buying and selling of votes, which in punishable with imprisonment of one to six year, under the Omnibus Election Code, and this is just scratching the surface.

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In Metro Manila alone, 84 arrests have been made so far. Of this number, 60 were reported in Makati – eight  vote-buyers and 52 vote-sellers.

Metro Manila police chief Guillermo Eleazar noted that the 60 individuals came only from one barangay — Barangay Isidro, from which cash totalling P410,000 was seized, along with leaflets were named after the “incumbent mayor” He was referring to Mayor Abby Binay.

“… para siyang regular office na may A, B, C, D — may mga pangalan. Tapos andoon yung listahan. Kapag nakita mo yung listahan, andoon yung pangalan, precinct number, sino nagrefer sa iyo, at may pinipirmahan,” he added.


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Complicating this campaign against vote buying, however, was an advice made by President Rodrigo Duterte to voters in Davao on May 9: “Just tell them, you took the money not for the votes but because you want your fare to go home.”

As described in an Inquirer report:

“The President, speaking during the grand rally of HNP’s  candidates in Davao City led by his daughter Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, was already around the end of an hour-long speech at past 10 p.m. when he asked, ‘Walay ihatag nga P100?’ (We have no P100 to give?)



“The President’s query was greeted by shrieks from the audience.

“The President then turned to his former Special Assistant now senatorial candidate Bong Go, who told him it was “bawal” (not allowed).

“’Bawal? How would these people get home?’ the President asked.

“Then, he explained to his audience that since (the prohibition) is “penal,” and that they could get imprisoned for the violation, he told them to just say they were in a meeting and had borrowed money for their fare to Almendras gym, the venue for (the) rally in this city.

“His statement elicited more shrieks and applause from his audience.

“’Tell them if you don’t take the money, you will have to roam around San Pedro (Street) offering yourself there (for sale) before you could get home.’”

“The President then took a dig at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) over what he said were unrealistic regulations involving assistance to supporters and local leaders that could be misconstrued as vote buying.

“He also criticized the supposed prohibition on feeding supporters and poll watchers.

“‘You can’t let your leaders go hungry, how will you win?’” he asked in Cebuano.

“However, no money was handed out to Hugpong ng Pagbabago supporters at the miting de avance,” the Inquirer report concluded.
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