House eyes sum­mons vs Diño over vote-buy­ing re­port

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By DELON POR­CALLA – With Em­manuel Tu­pas

A key leader of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives called on his 292 col­leagues to sub­poena In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Un­der­sec­re­tary for barangay af­fairs Martin Diño to sub­stan­ti­ate his al­le­ga­tions that about 100 law­mak­ers were in­volved in vote buy­ing dur­ing the re­cent polls.

“I am urg­ing the House lead­er­ship to sum­mon Diño. He should be called by the ap­pro­pri­ate com­mit­tee of this House,” an irate House Deputy Speaker Ra­neo Abu de­clared in an im­promptu priv­i­lege speech de­liv­ered Wed­nes­day evening at the ple­nary hall.

He chal­lenged Diño, a for­mer Que­zon City barangay cap­tain, to iden­tify the con­gress­men he ac­cused of buy­ing votes and in­flu­enc­ing their re­spec­tive con­stituents to vote for al­lied can­di­dates.

Abu’s case was re­ferred to the House com­mit­tee on rules chaired by Ma­jor­ity Leader Rodolfo Far­iñas of Ilo­cos Norte for ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion.

“He should be able to name them. And not only iden­tify them, he should also be able to have ev­i­dence against them if in­deed these House mem­bers vi­o­lated our elec­tion laws,” Abu said in his priv­i­lege speech.

Mi­nor­ity Leader Danilo Suarez also crit­i­cized Diño for giv­ing out “a very reck­less state­ment.”

“He (Diño) should have proof to back up his claims. Is there a footage of a con­gress­man in the act of giv­ing bribes to any­body? Never did I in­volve my­self in barangay pol­i­tics,” said Suarez, who rep­re­sents Que­zon prov­ince.

Reps. Al­fredo Garbin Jr. of Ako Bi­col and Eu­gene de Vera of ABS also wanted Diño to present proof.

“I think Diño should let his hands do the talk­ing, not his mouth, by fil­ing cases against those who vi­o­lated elec­tion laws in the re­cent barangay polls. The DILG (Depart­ment of the In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment) should know bet­ter and be pre­pared to pre­vent or even mit­i­gate these things from hap­pen­ing prior to the elec­tions,” said Rep. Tom Vil­larin of party-list Ak­bayan.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Je­sus said it would be un­fair if Diño would not sup­port his state­ment be­cause this sug­gests that all mem­bers of the House are sus­pect.

DILG As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Jonathan Malaya said re­ports on vote buy­ing and other elec­tion­re­lated of­fenses com­mit­ted by at least 41 lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and per­son­al­i­ties have been sub­mit­ted to the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec).

The re­port against 41 may­ors, other lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cers and can­di­dates for barangay posts also in­clude footage from se­cu­rity cam­eras.

“We have for­warded all the re­ports to Com­elec which has the man­date to in­ves­ti­gate and hold ac­count­able all in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, who con­tra­vened elec­tion laws, rules and reg­u­la­tions,” Malaya said in a state­ment.

He lauded con­cerned cit­i­zens who re­ported the of­fenses to them, and that this in­di­cates vot­ers are get­ting more vigilant and pro­tec­tive of their rights.

Mean­while, Diño said some Filipinos are still po­lit­i­cally im­ma­ture af­ter at least 60 barangay of­fi­cials in­cluded in the drug list of the Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA) won fresh man­dates last Mon­day.

PDEA di­rec­tor gen­eral Aaron Aquino said over dzMM that 60 barangay of­fi­cials ear­lier in­cluded in the narco list they made pub­lic weeks ago still emerged vic­to­ri­ous in the elec­tions.

These of­fi­cials, he added, are com­posed of 36 barangay cap­tains and 24 coun­cilors.

Diño said it is likely pos­si­ble these of­fi­cials used drug money in vote buy­ing and that the peo­ple only have them­selves to blame if the drug prob­lem per­sists in their ar­eas.

“They have cho­sen these can­di­dates for money,” Diño lamented. “It only shows that narco money is still preva­lent.”

Diño warned barangay of­fi­cials in the narco list they are not yet off the hook as he in­tends to hold them ac­count­able for their in­volve­ment in il­le­gal drugs.

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