By HANA BORDEY, GMA Integrated News
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be filing disqualification petitions against candidates for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) over alleged vote-buying activities, Comelec chairman George Garcia said Wednesday.
“[T]he Committee on Kontra-Bigay will file on Friday [disqualification] cases against BSKE candidates for vote-buying allegations,” Garcia said in a Viber message to reporters.
According to Comelec Spokesperson Rex Laudiangco, the committee will be filing around 30 cases.
In April 2023, the poll body created a permanent committee tasked to coordinate with law enforcement agencies to address vote-buying and vote-selling in the country.
The commissioner-in-charge for the Committee on Kontra Bigay is Commissioner Ernesto Maceda Jr.
The committee evolved from a task force which was formed during the 2022 presidential elections.
The said task force, headed by Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, was composed of several government agencies including the Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Philippine Information Agency.
Vote-buying and vote-selling are considered as an election offense under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Any person found guilty of election offense shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years.
Also, those found guilty will be denied the right to vote and prohibited from holding public office, and any political party found guilty of vote-buying will be fined. —VAL, GMA Integrated News