Comelec 7 confirms rampant vote buying but no witnesses, complainants
THE Commission on Elections in Central Visayas (Comelec 7) admitted on Election Day, May 9, 2022, rampant vote buying before the national and local elections based on reports posted on social media.
Comelec 7 Director and lawyer Dennis Ausan said they were seriously looking into vote-buying reports, stressing they received information about sample ballots that come along with stapled cash.
He said they will file a case against candidates who will be caught buying votes, but he admitted that they are having difficulty filing charges as no witness or complainants have come forward to testify.
He said based on complaints they received, they could not identify where the vote-buying incidents happened despite some ballots bearing the name of the candidate.
Ausan said they could not also use the photos posted on social media against the candidate, as no person is willing to testify about it.
“Kung pwede sana sila mismo will participate actively in the enforcement of law, first and foremost the executing of an affidavit. Give us the available evidence. Have everything documented para i-pursue natin,” he said.
He added that pushing the case without enough evidence will not work.
Ausan reminded the public that vote buying is an election offense and anyone caught doing it can be held criminally liable.
He added that people who will be caught buying votes can be arrested even without a warrant.
The Comelec 7 also warned Monday, May 9, those distributing samples ballots outside the polling centers, saying the campaign period ended Saturday, May 7.
He said help desks near the polling centers are also not allowed to distribute sample ballots.