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WATCH: NCRPO busts vote-buying operation in Makati

May 12, 2019 - Sunday 12:05 PM by Jon Joaquin

Eight suspected vote buyers and 52 suspected vote sellers were arrested on Saturday night inside the barangay hall of San Isidro, Makati City.

Footage provided by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Public Information Office (PIO) showed police operatives entering the darkened barangay hall and finding boxes filled with P500 bills.

Photo provided by NCRPO

NCRPO said the operation, which was mounted by the NCRPO’s Regional Special Operations Unit (RSOU) in coordination with Southern Police District Special Operations Unit and Makati City Police Station, stemmed from information received by the operatives regarding the ongoing the buying and selling of votes in the area.

"Operatives promptly proceeded in the area and caught the act of vote-buying and selling being conducted by the suspects. Immediately, operatives informed them of their violation and effected the arrest,” the NCRPO said.

Confiscated during the operation were 820 P500 bills (worth a total of 410,000); 19 assorted identification cards; 10 mobile phones; a list of voters with their addresses and precinct numbers; and two boxes of Ulat sa Bayan leaflets of a candidate for mayor. The NCRPO, however, did not identify the candidate.

NCRPO said the arrested suspects and seized evidence were brought to the RSOU office for proper disposition.

Photo provided by NCRPO

Cases for violation of Section 261 (a) (Vote Buying and Vote Selling), sub paragraph 1 and 2 and paragraph i (Intervention of Public Officers and employees) of BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881 (Omnibus Election Code Of the Philippines) are being prepared for filling in court.

NCRPO regional director Major General Guillermo Eleazar confirmed that three of the suspected vote buyers are barangay officials.

Itong Barangay Hall na ito, pinapatay nila ang ilaw, pinapapasok ang lahat at saka inilolock (The turn off the lights and let the people inside, then lock the doors in the Barangay Hall). This is a clear violation of the Omnibus Election Code at maaari rin silang managot sa (and they can be held liable for) Intervention of Public Officers,” Eleazar said.

Irerefer natin ito hindi lang sa Comelec, pati na rin sa DILG (We will refer this not just to the Commission on Elections but also tothe Department of Interior and Local Government),” he added.

Eleazar said NCRPO is maximizing the deployment of its reserved force from the headquarters to enforce the directive of PNP Chief General Oscar Albayalde to run after vote buyers, particularly in the last two days before the midterm election.