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Agusan poll bets buy votes early

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur— Local poll bets here have allegedly started buying votes in several barangays a week ahead from the elections on Monday.

Independent mayoralty candidate John Paredes has reported supporters of local bets were caught separately distributing P20,25, 40 and P50 bills since last week to residents in four villages of which a photo which serve as proof were submitted to the Department of Interior and Local Government for proper administrative charges.

Paredes, son of former governor and congressman Ceferino Paredes Jr. who stand against vote buying as his campaign crusade, said apart from being a candidate, Malacañang has tasked him to gather evidence against local politicians engaged in vote buying activities.

He posted the pictures of the peso bills on his Facebook wall but opted to blur the sample ballots of the candidates allegedly involved in vote buying since some of them were friends and acquaintances that he never wanted to embarrass them out of courtesy as fellow candidates.

The post has drawn mixed reactions to netizens many of them urging to uncover the names of the poll bets allegedly those mostly vying for town councilors.

The incidents of vote buying came more than a week later when mayoralty and vice mayoralty bets vowed not to engaged in vote buying activities to keep the elections peaceful and clean in a candidates in a candidates forum hosted by Agusan del Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. on April 26.

This was viewed by the local business sector as welcome development in a town known for massive vote buying in past elections.

Paredes warned fellow candidates that those found electorally liable in vote buying are more likely could not be proclaimed even if he/she wins the elections because the complaints could be easily processed for a decision by the Commission on Elections.

He said unlike criminal offense that it still need evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt, electoral or administrative proceedings only has to go through a report, an affidavit and intelligence information.

“They will not go to jail but the candidate involved in vote buying will not be able to serve office. This is where President Duterte follow through in warning politicians engaged in vote buying activities,” Paredes said.

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