Probe on Cavite governor Remulla's possible vote-buying violation urged

·3 min read
FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte, center, shakes hands with politician Juanito Victor
FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte, center, shakes hands with politician Juanito Victor "Jonvic" Remulla, right, following his meeting with some politicians who shifted political support to his camp Friday, April 29, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. At left is Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla and Bong Go (third from left). (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Election watchdog Kontra Daya urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to investigate a possible vote-buying violation after videos and photos of Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla handing out money to attendees made rounds in social media.

In a statement on Tuesday (March 22), the group said that COMELEC should investigate the incumbent governor for possible violation of the Omnibus Election Code on vote-buying.

“Even if the campaign period for local posts starts on March 25, Remulla may still be liable not necessarily as a candidate but as a Marcos supporter. His actions, after all, directly benefit the national candidates he openly supports,” Kontra Daya said.

Remulla was seen giving away P1,000 bills to people called on stage during a campaign rally of presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos on March 22 in Barangay San Juan, Damariñas, Cavite.

The group stressed that the COMELEC should not wait for a formal complaint to be filed before they start to investigate.

Meanwhile, the governor defended his actions saying that the gathering was not a UniTeam sortie until the candidates for national positions come to the venue. However, the stage and the venue were reportedly filled with Uniteam posters.

Hindi pa ako kandidato (I am not a candidate) until (March) 25, BBM was not there. Not until the candidates arrive is it a violation,” he insisted.

Election lawyer Emil Marañon III called out Remulla’s statement, highlighting Section 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code that the vote-buyer need not be a “candidate” as the law says “any person.”

“The presence of the candidate benefitting from the act is also not an element of the crime. BBM need not be there for Remulla to commit vote-buying for him,” the lawyer tweeted.

Section 261 (a) of the election code says that “any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value… in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate” is liable for vote-buying.

The Cavite governor had earlier promised the Marcos-Duterte tandem to deliver 800,000 votes from the province. His brother, Cavite 7th District Congressman Boying Remulla, meanwhile earlier accused Robredo rally attendees in Cavite of being paid to attend.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. The views expressed are her own.

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