DOJ can conduct own probe on ‘criminal aspect’ of vote buying – Sec. Guevarra

Published March 30, 2022, 5:55 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra

The Department of Justice (DOJ) can conduct its own independent investigation on vote buying which “has a criminal aspect,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Wednesday, March 30.

“But we’d rather wait for the Comelec’s (Commission on Elections) directive, considering that the Comelec is thinking of an inter-agency task force against vote-buying,” Guevarra pointed out.

In support of Comelec’s initiative, Guevarra earlier said that he is set to form a composite team.

“I intend to create a DOJ composite team from the NPS [National Prosecution Service], NBI [National Bureau of Investigation], PAO [Public Attorney’s Office], and DOJAC [DOJ Action Center] (main and field offices) for the Comelec’s inter-agency task force against vote buying,” he said.

“Considering the importance of the forthcoming elections to the survival and recovery of the nation, I will direct the DOJ contingent to give the highest priority to this campaign in the next 40 days,” he assured.

Last Friday, March 25, the Comelec announced that it is creating a multi-agency task force that will act on reports of vote buying.

It said the task force will include the DOJ, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Information Agency, NBI, Philippine National Police, and Armed Forces of the Philippines.