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Vote buying remains rampant, poll watchdog reports

Poll watchdog Kontra Daya said that vote buying remains rampant in today’s elections, a practice that has in fact started as early as January.

The group in its mid-afternoon report said it has received allegations of vote buying in the provinces of La Union, Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Camarines Norte, Negros Occidental, Aklan, Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Davao, Agusan del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur.

Amounts reportedly range from P200 to as much as P4,500.

In Metro Manila, Kontra Daya received reports on vote buying in Quezon and Taguig cities.

Volunteers on the ground described the vote buying as “widespread,” “massive,” “brazen,” and “insulting”, Kontra Daya said.

“There were several reports detailing how vote buying is coursed through their respective barangay officials. Others are reportedly ‘helping’ voters find their precincts in exchange of votes,” the watchdog said.

In Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental, police have reportedly arrested those allegedly involved in vote buying.

Among those confiscated are sample ballots with P1,000 each attached.

As many as 28 suspects have been arrested, a separate report sent to Kontra Daya said.

Moises Padilla is under Comelec control following the murders of of reelectionist Councilor Jolomar Hilario and a relative last March 31.

In Samar, vote buying reportedly began as early as January, Kontra Daya said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)