Carcar City mayoral candidate, slate accused of vote buying
A COUNCILOR running for reelection in Carcar City, southern Cebu has accused the group of mayoral candidate Nicepuro Apura of allegedly buying votes in some barangays in the city.
Reelectionist councilor Harold Nacua told SunStar Cebu that he personally caught Apura’s group distributing envelopes each filled with P870 in Sitio Bonbon, Barangay Ocaña on Monday, May 2, seven days prior to the local and national elections.
Nacua said the envelopes not only contained money but also sample ballots with the names of Apura and his slate.
Nacua is currently running under the slate of Vice Mayor Patricio “Patrick” Barcenas, who is running for mayor against Apura.
SunStar Cebu tried to get Apura’s side but he has yet to reply to calls and texts to his phone since Monday.
Nacua said that on Sunday, May 1, some of their supporters caught Apura’s staff members distributing envelopes containing money with sample ballots at the mayoral candidate’s private resort in Sitio Bonbon, Barangay Ocaña.
According to Nacua’s supporters, the distribution was aimed to bolster Apura’s chances in Barangays Napo, Ocaña and Bolinawan.
On the next day, Apura’s group also allegedly conducted distribution of cash envelopes for their supporters in Barangays Calidngan, Buenavista and Valencia. The distribution was reportedly held at the City Government’s motorpool in Barangy Poblacion 3, Nacua added.
Nacua claimed the distribution was heavily guarded by Apura’s goons.
Aside from the photos they have gathered, Nacua said they also have voice recordings from people attesting to have seen the buying of votes first hand.
He also personally witnessed some of the illegal acts himself when he went to his cousin’s house in Ocaña on May 1.
Nacua said they reported the matter to the police but they were not acted upon.
In a separate interview, Carcar City police chief Lt. Col. Ardioleto Cabagnot denied Nacua’s claim that he sought their help to investigate reports of vote buying in his city.
He added that based on their daily conduct of checkpoints around the city, they have not encountered anyone conducting vote-buying activities for any of the candidates.
Anti-vote buying teams
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will form teams that will look into reports of vote buying in their respective areas ahead of the 2022 national and local elections.
DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Wednesday, May 4, 2022, that these PNP anti-vote-buying teams will serve as the first responder in vote-buying incidents in their communities.
He said there were “so many” vote-buying reports that they immediately forwarded to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for action.
The PNP earlier said it is working on a mechanism and coordinating with Comelec to counter vote buying, including those that are being done through electronic money transfer services.
The Comelec has created a task force against vote buying and it is composed of members of the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Department of Justice.
Acts of buying and selling of votes violate Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, and these are punishable by imprisonment, disqualification from public office and cancellation of the right to vote.