House eyes summons vs Diño over vote-buying report
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.