The 2019 Elections will be held this May 13, 2019. The Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) of the Diocese of Dumaguete City is closely monitoring reports of alleged vote buying, harassment, and perceived threats and acts of violence in relation to Monday’s mid-term elections.
Vote Buying in Dumaguete City
Monsignor Julius Perpetuo S. Heruela, co-convenor of the Diocesan Electoral Board, disclosed on Friday (May 10, 2019) that volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in the different barangays, towns, and cities covered by the diocese, have been sending reports on these in recent days.
The PPCRV, a citizens’ watchdog accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), will be fielding at least 4,000 volunteers in the Diocese of Dumaguete to act mainly as poll watchers, as well as to carry out its other roles for a Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful (CHAMP) elections, he said.
Some reports trickling in on alleged vote buying, sometimes with accompanying pictures, involve the distribution of campaign materials with bills attached to them,” said Julius Perpetuo S. Heruela.
One report also showed a picture of a letter and two bullets, threatening the person to whom it was addressed to “lie low” during the elections. The subject of the “threat letter” reported to the police that unknown persons opened fire at her and her live-in partner Wednesday evening while they were having dinner inside their home in Siaton town, Negros Oriental.
Heruela appealed anew to the people not be swayed into “selling” their votes to political candidates who engage in various ways to earn them an elected position. He expressed concern over the changing political landscape here compared to previous elections such that there is more mudslinging, especially on social media, by opposing camps and individuals.
Daghan na kaayong kwarta nanggawas na ug nakadawat pod ang mga botante, isulod gihapon sa sobra kauban sa mga nawong sa mga politico (There is plenty of money already being shelled out to the voters in envelopes with campaign materials bearing the face of a candidate),” Heruela said.
There are threats also going around as per reports we have received from the field, and political bets making promises, such as giving insurance for all,” he went on to say in the Cebuano dialect.
Also being passed around are text messages that discredit a political candidate or a group, the priest said.
The DEB is a non-partisan group composed of the Diocese, Comelec, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces, PPCRV, National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, and other civil society groups that are working together for honest, orderly, and peaceful elections. On Sunday, the DEB, which is mandated to conduct parallel counting of the election results, will set up a command center at the Marian Priests’ Center at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria compound in Dumaguete for Monday’s polls.