NO TO VOTE-BUYING. Around a hundred protesters flash “Not to Vote Buying” placards in front of a gubernatorial bet’s house in Bay, Laguna after a village councilor and a supporter were caught distributing sample ballots allegedly bearing the name of reelectionist Laguna governor and the party slate with money attached at a sub-village in the capital town of Sta. Cruz, on May 12, 2019. (Photo by Saul E. Pa-a)
STA. CRUZ, Laguna -- On the eve of the May 13 elections, some 100 protesters here rallied in front of the house of reelectionist governor Ramil Hernandez in Bay town, following an alleged vote-buying incident involving a village councilor and a supporter in Sitio 4, Barangay Oogong in this capital town.
The protesters chanted “No to PHP1,500” and were aghast at the pre-election vote-buying involving Melchor Cabrejas Sta. Ana, 61 and Miriam Dardo Octavio, 54, a bar soap retailer.
Laguna provincial police director, Col. Eleazar Pepito Matta, said the protest came after Sta. Ana and Octavio were caught before noon on Sunday distributing sample ballots allegedly with the attached money.
The sample ballots, reportedly bearing the names of Hernandez and 13 other local candidates under the Nacionalista Party, are now in the custody of the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) and police.
Matta said charges are being prepared against Sta. Ana and Octavio in violation of the Omnibus Election Code under Batas Pambansa 881, Section 26a.
Matta said the team of the Provincial Intelligence Branch, led by Maj. Jay Orapa of Drug Enforcement Unit, and the Sta. Cruz police were conducting their operations when they saw the two suspects distributing sample ballots to residents.
Police confiscated from Sta. Ana a plastic bag containing sample ballots and cash amounting to PHP1,800.
Authorities also confiscated a notebook and the PH2,700 cash from the suspects.
Matta said the operation stemmed from tip-off by residents on the alleged vote-buying incident in the village. (PNA)