By Jennifer P. Rendon
Vote-buying is pervasive. Well, at least that’s what the posts on social media say.
But for the record, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) said they have not logged a single vote-buying case in the entire Western Visayas.
Police said a formal complaint is needed before they can even investigate an alleged case of vote-buying.
“The complaint must be also verified,” Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Solis, PRO-6 spokesperson, said.
While there were complaints of vote-buying, there were not enough evidence to back them up, the reason why these were not logged by the police in their records.
But Solis assured the public that police responded to every vote-buying report they received.
A few days ago, alleged vote buying incidents were reported in Igbaras town in Iloilo.
A day after the Igbaras case, reports of voters storming a resort in Oton town also made rounds on social media.
Police received complaints that individuals storming the Katagmam Beach Resort caused traffic jam in the area.
Just like in Igbaras, pictures of money clipped in sample ballots also went viral.
But in both cases, the local PNP claimed that no formal complaints were lodged with the police station or with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
There were also reports of a two-day vote-buying spree in Miag-ao town. But that, too, was unverified.
Prior to that, mayoralty candidate Leopoldo Moragas sent a letter to Captain Marvin Buenavista, Miagao police chief, asking for “assistance in verifying and stopping” the alleged “massive vote-buying” in the town.
Apart from the three towns in Iloilo’s first district, there was also reports of vote-buying in Concepcion.
Earlier, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) declared that it would intensify police visibility in a bid to prevent election fraud.
Colonel Adrian Acollador, Iloilo police chief, said they would conduct heightened police presence through checkpoint operations to avert election fraud, like vote buying activities.
For the said purpose, Acollador has directed all chiefs of police and mobile force commanders to intensify the conduct of random checkpoint and chokepoint operations to ward off activities such as vote buying, vote selling, and harassment.
He also reminded voters that just like vote buying, vote selling is also considered an election fraud.