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P1 Million cash intended to buy votes seized in Zamboanga del Sur town

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MDN digital, May 12) – With only one day before the midterm elections on Monday, operatives of the 97th Infantry Battalion (9thIB) has recovered bundles of money in different denominations amounting to over a million pesos, police authorities reported yesterday.

The military said the big amount of money found abandoned in a house in Barangay Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur is believed to be used to buy votes during election time as evident with a piece of paper which contains what could be a distribution list.

The money was placed inside a paper bag left by fleeing suspects when the military swooped down in the area to respond to a call of a resident informing the soldiers of the presence of armed men reportedly harassing city residents.

Initian investigation by police authorities disclosed that at around 9am last Saturday the headquarters of the 9thIB has received a tip from an anonymous caller regarding the presence of armed men in Barangay Dapiwak, Dumingag town. This information was confirmed to reporters by Lt. Abner Pilando, 9th IB's commander of the Alpha Company.

Immediately, investigation added, the 9th IB commander dispatched a team of soldiers in Dapiwak to confirm the veracity of the report, which also lead to the conduct of operation in a house. But their arrival was sensed by the suspects and they scampered to different directions, leaving bundles of money.

The soldiers then search the whole house and found the money placed in a paper bag with a certain piece of paper which was suspected to be a distribution list because it contains information where the money are supposed to be given away.

The paper stated that 488 voters were budgetted with P976,000 because they will be given P2,000 each; P10,000 for the chairman of the Board of election canvassers; P3,000 for each of the 13 BEC or a total of 39,000; P100 each for the 142 household leaders for a total of P14,200; P500 for CVO head; P200 each for the 25 CVO members or a total of P5,000 and P2,000 each for six poll watchers.

The military who recovered the money allegedly intended to buy votes will turn over the money to Dumingag Municipal Police Station. 

Meanwhile, The Philippine National Police has already recorded a total of 17 alleged vote buyers and sellers as of Saturday. Authorities noted that vote buying has already started even two days before the midterm elections on Monday, May 13,2019.

In Sta. Cruz, Laguna, police operatives arrested two persons for alleged vote buying activities.

Police authorities identified those arrested as Melchor Sta Ana, 61 and Miriam Octavio, 54. The suspects were all caught while segregating the P100 peso bill together with sample ballots bearing the name of Laguna governor Ramil Hernandez as well as 13 other candidates.

The governor's camp denied the report, saying they are not buying votes and instead said this could be the work of people who want to destroy the reputation of the governor. 

Photo credit to 9thIB


Joel Escolhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK_sKdGFs0ewIh9R-iAskDg
Joel Calamba Escol is a journalist in the Philippines for more than 20 years. Currently, he is the Managing Editor of Mindanao Daily News, the biggest and most-widely read newspaper in Southern Philippines. He is also known as Noypi Vlogger in Youtube. You can follow him on the following social networking sites below.
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