Fight vs vote-buying as important as drug war: ex-senator Alvarez

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2019 11:40 AM

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MANILA — Curbing vote buying is as important as eradicating the narcotics trade, former Sen. Heherson Alvarez said Sunday as he urged the Commission on Elections to gather witnesses against candidates engaged in the poll violation. 

Alvarez, a supposed candidate of President Rodrigo Duterte's party PDP-Laban, withdrew on Saturday his candidacy as representative for the 4th district of Isabela, citing alleged vote-buying. 

The former lawmaker said he has filed a complaint and submitted photos of the alleged distribution of P1,000 bills to voters and candidates' supposed promise of a "bonus" for constituents after the May 13 polls. 

The Comelec, however, should gather its own witnesses, he said. 

"Lalong madali kung iyung Comelec ang hahakbang, kukuha sila ng mga testigo," Alvarez told radio DZMM. 

(It would be easier if the Comelec takes action, gets witnesses.) 

"Kasing halaga ito ng pagsupil ng droga sapagkat ito, ang sinisira nito ay talagan iyung puso ng ating demokrasya. Papaano kung hindi natin mapili nang tama at mga walanghiya at magnanakaw ang mabotohan dahil nakapamili sila ng boto? E di sirang-sira na naman ang demokrasya na ipinaglaban nang maraming taon," he addded. 

(This is as important as curbing illegal drugs, because vote buying destroys the heart of our democracy. What if we can't choose correctly and shameless candidates and thieves are elected because they bought votes? Our democracy, which we fought for many years, would be destroyed.) 

Alvarez served as senator from 1987 to 1998 before being elected as representative of the 4th district of Isabela from 1998 to 2001.
 
He was supposed to run against former congressman Georgidi Aggabao and newcomer Sheena Tan. 

No candidate has ever been disqualified or removed from his post due to vote-buying because complainants often back out of legal proceedings, the Commission on Elections said Sunday. 

DZMM, 12 May 2019