Vote-selling, buying still rampant all over Caraga Region on the eve of election day

by Ben Serrano

      October 25, 2010

            BUTUAN CITY - COMELEC accredited citizen’s watch group One Vote last night alleged unabated secret man-to-man, house-to-house vote selling and vote-buying were observed on the eve of election day in almost all parts of Caraga Region 

            In a press statement furnished to this writer early morning today, One Vote Movement said they are dismayed over deteriorating attitude of voters in the region over the years that some even go to houses of candidates and asked money while some even scolded candidates why running for local elective posts without money to buy votes. 

            “In some parts of the region, candidates don’t have to go to voters to buy votes because some voters are the ones going to houses of candidates or will personally go to see candidates to collect money” local One Vote Movement in the region in their press statement said. 

           Other candidates in cooperation with their relatives and supporters even go house to house to campaign and while campaigning, money amounting to P500.00, P100.00 to P50.00 contained inside envelope, some attached into sample ballots or flyers while some secretly slipped into the hands of voters while talking. 

            In most barangays in Caraga Region, coordinators who knew voters in every corners and streets of the locality are the ones holding the money go house to house on eve of election day with some right on election day and distribute money to voters personally inside houses.

            The movement alleged in Butuan City and Agusan del Norte vote-buying or selling were pegged at P100 to P200 per voter, in Surigao del Norteand Surigao City where mining companies are aplenty, P500, P100 to low P50, in mineral –rich Dinagat Islands, P1,000, P500 to P100, in Surigao del Sur where mining and logging companies are operating, P1,000, P500 to P100 and Agusan del Sur where logging thrives, P500, P200 to  P100 per voter. 

            One Vote Movement Caraga region convenor Beverly Sy who is signatory of said press statement said that last day campaigning and convincing with money to voters to shift support locally called as “Kamang or Kinamangay” crawl in English were done usually in the evening on the eve of election day. 

            The movement claimed local Barangay and SK learned dirty tricks of politics like those mentioned above from traditional politicians who are now sitting in power. 

            “Besides some of the vote-buying money and election funds used in this October 25 elections now come from traditional politicians whether incumbents or defeated politicians who are making a political comeback in 2013 local and national elections” the press statement said. 

            The movement said traditional politicians have stockpiled money all over the years while sitting in power through corruption either kickbacks from all government projects and contracts in connivance equally corrupt government agencies and fund support from mining, logging companies especially those opposed by environmental and indigenous people’s groups.

            Other politicians get money support from illegal gambling activities with some from illegal drugs operations in the locality, one vote movement alleged. 

            “That’s the reason why those defeated were dying to make a political comeback and seized opportunity to tie up with local SK and Barangay politicians to get grass roots support this early”, the movement added. 

            “The notion that Barangay and SK elections which the law also said were entirely false in real sense and in practice because in reality big local politicians were actually supporting their local SK and Barangay bets”, the press statement further said. 

            It added that said political realities do not only hold true in Caraga region but in the entire country as well.

            The movement alleged local moral, religious and academe institutions miserably failed in truly educating Filipino voters up to now saying over decades of Philippine elections, the situation have gone worst every election conducted. 

            “This is because vicious cycle of corruption the leads to poverty thus poverty breeds and pushed people to sell votes like prostitutes are coming over and over again, a harsh reality that our local and national leaders had to deal with in daily basis” the movement added. 

            “And COMELEC, the government agency tasked to make Philippine elections honest and orderly also miserably failed because same officials tagged in many controversies like the Garci Scandal are still there, sitting in power” one vote said. 

            The group recommended; one; Total removal of the weakest link in COMELEC and further strengthened the poll body, make COMELEC pro-active not only during election day but all through-out the year as lead agency in total, relevant, voters education and information drive; Two, minimize poverty through massive government anti-poverty drive; and three; prosecute and  put behind grafters in government and make anti-corruption government drive true to itself in real sense. (-30-)