Over P12M cash for vote-buying seized

PHILIPPINE National Police agents across the country seized nearly P12.2 million in different bills which were all used in vote-buying and selling incidents on the eve of election and right on the actual day of the national and local polls, the PNP reported yesterday.

According to PNP spokesman Colonel Bernard M. Banac, there were a total of 225 vote-buying incidents reported to different PNP units nationwide up to yesterday triggering operations which led to the arrest of 356 persons and the rescue of eight minors.

Eighty-five other suspects were being hunted as of press time.

The exact amount of cash confiscated in those operations was P12,208,958, Banac said.

Police Regional Office 8 director Brigadier General Dionardo B. Carlos said that in Northern Samar alone, they responded to 11 reports of vote-buying on top of the 9 vote-buying incidents that resulted in the arrest of 9 suspects: 5 in Leyte; 1 in Biliran; 2 in Samar; and 2 in Northern Samar.

Carlos said that overall, they arrested 10 persons for vote-buying broken down as follows: 5 in Leyte; 1 in Biliran and 2 each in Samar and Northern Samar. Carlos also said that they confiscated a total of P320,760 in cash during those anti-vote-buying operations:P14,020 in Leyte; P1,00 in Southern Leyte; P3,950 in Biliran; P300,000 in Samar; P740 in Eastern Samar; and P1,050 in Northern Samar.

Out of the 225 vote-buying incidents reported to and investigated by police regional offices, the biggest took place in Cordillera region with 37 followed by 31 in Eastern Visayas; 23 in Central Luzon; and 17 in Ilocos-Pangasinan region.

The others are the following: 1 in Cagayan Valley; 14 in Calabarzon region; 6 in Mimaropa region; 16 each in Bicol region and Western Visayas; 12 in Central Visayas; 1 in Western Mindanao; 9 in Northern Mindanao; 8 in Southern Mindanao; 5 in Central Mindanao; 9 in Caraga region and Metro Manila; and 11 in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Banac said that out of the 356 suspects accosted and are now facing charges for violation of the Omnibus Election Code, the biggest was made by the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar with 136 followed by 36 from the BARMM Police Regional Office under Brig. Gen. Graciano J. Mijares;  32 by the Police Regional Office 4-A headed by Brig. Gen. Edward E. Carranza; 22 by the PRO5 headed by Brig. Gen. Arnel B. Escobal; and 26 by the PRO6  headed by Brig. Gen. John C. Bulalacao..