By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has officially turned over to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cases of vote buying incidents and other violations in the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election (BSKE).
“We have forwarded all the reports to Comelec which has the mandate to investigate and hold accountable all individuals, including government officials, who contravened election laws, rules and regulations,” said DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.
He noted that the reports was received by the department from concerned citizens from all over the country through the office of Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Dino.
“We are pleased that our voters are now more vigilant and protective of their rights. We thank them for the reports we have received which we are now forwarding to the Comelec,” he added.
Malaya said reports were transmitted to the Comelec for investigation and appropriate legal action.
The DILG has deferred to the Comelec on how it would act on citizens’ reports received by Dino regarding government officials since that is within the mandate of the commission.
Malaya said the DILG has continuously been in close coordination with the Comelec as the department vowed to provide the needed assistance against local officials committing election-related violations.
However, Malaya clarified that it is within the mandate of the Comelec to issue sanctions against members of Congress violating election laws.
Earlier, several lawmakers asked Dino to reveal the names of barangay officials involved in vote buying and other election related violations.
This came in the heels of Dino’s revelation of rampant election related irregularities committed by some political aspirants in the May 14 BSKE.
Also, President Duterte said that winning barangay officials on the narco-list should not be complacent as the government intends to pursue cases against them.
Congress also expressed plans to call on Dino to further explain the vote-buying allegations.
Several days before the May 14 polls, Dino had said that a number of election hotspots already pegged at 8,000 could still increase as reports of harassment and election related violence continue to pour in.
He also said that his office had been receiving the reports through hotline numbers, email and text messages with some of the complaints accompanied by videos of actual vote-buying and harassment incidents.