Bataan bets trade barbs over vote-buying, harassment claims | Inquirer News
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Bataan bets trade barbs over vote-buying, harassment claims

/ 05:00 AM April 29, 2022

Fire razes house of village councilor in Bataan

MARIVELES, Bataan — Reelectionist Mayor Jocelyn Castañeda and her lone rival for the position, Ace Jello Concepcion, have threatened to sue each other over allegations of vote-buying and harassment.

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In a statement on Tuesday, Castañeda accused Concepcion’s camp of vote-buying during a recent gathering of his supporters, who reportedly received membership cards that also served as discount cards.

According to Castañeda, campaign coordinators of Concepcion were asked to take an oath on April 25 before receiving the membership cards under 1Bataan Partido Balikatan.

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The mayor claimed the membership cards were used to indirectly buy votes since these could be used to avail of discounts on hospital services and were distributed during the election period.

“The law is clear that it’s not only cash that can be used to buy votes. Anything that has value and offers promises can buy votes,” Castañeda said in a statement posted on her Facebook page.

Vehicle ransacked

She also asked the local police and the Commission on Elections to investigate what she described as “massive” and “rampant” vote-buying activities in the town.

Concepcion, meanwhile, dismissed the allegations of Castañeda, whom he threatened to sue after reportedly leading a group of people in ransacking a vehicle of his camp while supposedly looking for evidence of vote-buying.

In a statement, Concepcion said a laptop was stolen from the van and that the mayor and her team could face legal charges.

Concepcion’s party mates, led by Gov. Albert Garcia, who is running for representative of the province’s second district, held a press briefing on Tuesday to defend Concepcion and belie Castañeda’s allegations of vote-buying.

“We condemn the action of Castañeda for harassment, breaking the glass window of the vehicle and having ransacked the contents of the car supposedly looking for evidence of vote-buying,” Garcia said at the briefing.

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Garcia’s younger brother, Rep. Jose “Joet” Enrique III, clarified that the distribution of the membership cards to their supporters was not a form of vote-buying.

“We can distribute the [identification cards] anytime and there was nothing illegal about this activity,” said the lawmaker, who is running unopposed for governor. —GREG REFRACCION

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