By Jun Ramirez
LOS BANOS, Laguna – Thousands of voters here expressed disgust over the massive and brazen buying of votes by some local candidates four days before today’s election.
Coordinators, mostly former and present barangay officials of gubernatorial, congressional, and mayoral bets distributed various sums ranging from P500 to P1,500 to voters that formed long lines to accept the pay off.
The money was placed inside small brown envelopes which had the names of the voters and the number of the polling precincts where they are registered.
Others who were not on the list received their payment after showing their voters’ identification cards.
Sources witnessed adults queuing along the narrow Labay road in Barangay Timugan receiving P500 each from representatives of a congressional candidate.
The distribution started at around 9 p.m. of May 11 until 4 a.m. the following day.
The candidate’s opponents also did the same at the nearby Girls Scout Building a day earlier and tripled the amount to P1,500.
Other sources said the same shameless cheating activities were repeated in other barangays until the eve of the election.
It was also learned that trusted coordinators of some candidates visited houses of known supporters of their political rivals giving bribes of up to P5,000 in exchange for not showing up at the polling centers.
The point fingers of those who accepted payments were smeared with colored liquid similar to the indelible ink used by the Commission on Elections to further discourage them from casting their votes.
Other candidates running for governor reportedly did the same vote-buying activities.
Observers said this form of election fraud is not new and unique to this town as it is also prevalent in other municipalities and cities. #MatalinongBoto2019