VOTE-BUYING: Government troops recovered on Saturday, May 11, a paper bag containing PHP1 million that was abandoned by political supporters engaged in vote buying in Barangay Dipawak, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur. (Photo courtesy of Army's 1st Infantry Division Public Afrairs Office)
ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Troops from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division arrested five political supporters suspected of vote-buying and seized more than PHP1 million cash in two separate areas, military officials said.
Brig. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, said Monday the political supporters allegedly involved in vote-buying activity were arrested early Sunday by military and police operatives in Barangay Bualan, Tubod, Lanao del Norte.
Ancan said the arrest was made in coordination with the Tubod election officer, following the reported presence of the suspects engaged in vote-buying in Barangay Bualan in that town.
Ancan did not release the identities of the suspects, who were caught in possession of PHP123,868 cash, sample ballots, and other campaign paraphernalia.
Meanwhile, government troops recovered a paper bag containing PHP1 million on Saturday in Barangay Dapiwak, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur.
Lt. Col. Rufino de Leon, the Army’s 97th Infantry Battalion commander, said the paper bag containing money was recovered after the troops received information from concerned citizens regarding the presence of “goons” conducting vote-buying activity and harassing residents in Barangay Dipawak.
De Leon said the troops were conducting security patrol when they received the report about harassment and vote-buying activity.
“Our troops found the money believed to be left by the goons of an unidentified politician at the back of an abandoned house in the said barangay,” De Leon said.
The recovered money was turned over to the election officials of Dumingag and Tubod, respectively, while the arrested persons were turned over to the Tubod Municipal Police Station for proper disposition.
“We in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) together with the PNP (Philippine National Police) are in full support of the Comelec (Commission on Elections) to have secure and fair elections. We will not allow anybody, regardless of what political party they belong, to threaten or intimidate our people in this electoral process,” said Ancan, who is also the Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao provinces).
He challenge all the candidates, civil society organizations, religious groups and the citizenry to be more vigilant in preventing violence and “not be swayed by the use of guns, goons and gold.” (PNA)