‘Kontra Bigay’ task force: ‘Comelec exploits security, government agencies against vote buying

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Comelec Commissioner George Garcia and President Saidamen Pangarungan speak to Senator Imee Marcos after the Senate Committee Hearing on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation held at a restaurant in Intramuros, Manila on March 17 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Electoral Commission (Comelec) announced on Friday that it is organizing a multi-agency task force to investigate and act on reported vote-buying ahead of the May 9 election.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said the inter-agency team would include the Department of Justice, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine News Agency, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. .

“It will be called the Kontra Bigay working group… Hopefully it will be activated by the Comelec en banc and constituted by next week,” he said.

Last week, Garcia said a Comelec task force would be created to deal with vote-buying reports, some captured on video.

With the task force expanded, Garcia said he could conduct investigations motu proprio or on his own without complainants.

“Because of these extensive coordination efforts, immediate actions, motu proprio or based on formal complaints, involving vote buying are expected. As we have said before, our commitment to eliminate this impropriety is unprecedented.” , he added.

Under the omnibus election code, it is prohibited to give, offer or promise “money or anything of value … in order to induce any person or the general public to vote for or against any candidate or to retain his vote in the election”.

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