Bohol SK leader steps down from federation post over vote-buying
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Philippines — While most elected officials and losing candidates would hide their vote-buying activities, a newly elected young leader in Bohol province made a rare admission he did so in relation to the selection last week of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) federation leaders in his town.
Rizaldy Villaflores, 19, of Jagna town, opted to resign after he was elected by his peers as vice president of the SK municipal federation in Jagna. His reason: he was bothered by his conscience.
In a Nov. 16 letter, Villaflores admitted he was involved in vote-buying and other unlawful acts prior to the SK Federation election period in Jagna town on Nov. 13.
Villaflores said the election was tainted with multiple violations.
“[It] runs counter to the very core of the group’s values, principles, missions and endeavors,” he said in a letter to the town’s SK federation president-elect Noel Galia.
Villaflores, a member of the Parish Youth Ministry of the Catholic Church in his town, said it was “with great regret … that I was tempted to violate these values when I participated in the vote-buying and other unlawful acts during the SK Federated election period.”
In his resignation letter, Villaflores quoted Tagbilaran Bishop Alberto Uy who said that “when integrity in leadership is missing, it can have severe consequences for individuals and society as a whole.
Villaflores admitted that the night before the SK municipal federation elections, he and other SK chairpersons for the different villages in his town were brought to a pension house in Tagbilaran City for an overnight stay. It was there that he received P5,000 from a candidate for an SK federation post.
“As a youth leader in public service, I have to stand and tell the truth to rectify these mistakes in order for me to lead by example in the right way,” said Villaflores, who can still serve the youth as SK chair of Barangay Cantagay.
Most of the candidates from 33 villages attended the “One Jagna Kontra Bigay sa Piniliay” and pledged to end vote-buying last Oct. 16.
The town of Jagna was praised by Bishop Uy for its “law-abiding and God-fearing candidates and voters” after no incidents of vote-buying were recorded during the Barangay and SK elections last Oct. 30.