Task Force 'Kontra Bigay:' Comelec taps security, gov't agencies vs vote buying

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2022 06:25 PM

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia and chairman Saidamen Pangarungan speak to Senator Imee Marcos after the hearing of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation held inside a restaurant in Intramuros, Manila on March 17, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Comelec Commissioner George Garcia and chairman Saidamen Pangarungan speak to Senator Imee Marcos after the hearing of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation held inside a restaurant in Intramuros, Manila on March 17, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced Friday it is organizing a multi-agency task force to investigate and act on reported vote buying ahead of the May 9 elections. 

Comelec commissioner George Garcia said the inter-agency team would include the Department of Justice, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Information Agency, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, and Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"This will be called task force Kontra Bigay... Hopefully to be activated by the Comelec en banc and constituted by next week," he said.

Last week, Garcia said a Comelec task force would be created to address the reports of vote buying, some caught on video. 

With the expansion of the task force, Garcia said it may carry out investigations motu proprio or on its own without complainants.

"Because of this broad coordinative efforts, immediate actions, motu proprio or based on formal complaints, involving vote buying are expected. As we have said before, our commitment in eliminating this irregularity is unparalleled," he added.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, giving, offering, or promising "money or anything of value... in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election" is prohibited. 

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