By Leslie Ann Aquino
The gubernatorial bid of Eastern Samar Governor Marcelo Picardal is now facing an impediment.
This, after two voters from his province asked the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to disqualify him from running in the May 13 midterm polls for allegedly violating election laws.
In their verified petition for disqualification and for election offense, Borongan City residents Nelson Cortez and Cyril Jesus Alzate accused Picardal of vote-buying.
“The Respondent, through his agents, minions, and supporters had given and distributed money and other material considerations to influence the voters and other persons so as to ensure the Respondent’s victory in the coming May 13 elections,” read the petition.
“The acts of gubernatorial candidate Picardal expressively and directly violated the cited prohibited acts and they are grounds to disqualify him from running in the May 13 elections,” it further read.
Petitioners accused Picardal of giving money to registered voters Nelia and Virgilia Belas, Rixine Quintanar and Lina Abac in the amounts of P800, P648, and P400, respectively, in March and April.
The said amounts were allegedly contained in a brown envelope which included pocket calendars with Picardal’s picture printed on it.
The amounts were allegedly given in the guise of reimbursement for the hospital expenses they incurred last year.
The petitioners said the acts of Picardal, through his agents, in giving money for their hospital expenses when they were not even issued any official receipts, except the envelopes containing the money and the small calendar with his picture, violate the Omnibus Election Code.
“The act of giving and/or releasing of fund for reimbursement of hospital expenses and/or giving money personally to the house of the recipient is an improper conduct considering that it was coupled with an election campaign material or paraphernalia of gubernatorial candidate Picardal,” read the petition.
“Wherefore, it respectfully prayed that after due notice and hearing the respondent be disqualified from continuing as a candidate for the position of Governor of Eastern Samar and charged for the election offense,” it further read.
Vote-buying, which is an election offense, is defined as any person, who gives, offers, or promises money or anything of value, directly or indirectly, in order to induce anyone or the public, in general, to vote for or against any candidate.
It carries the penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification to hold public office. #MatalinongBoto2019