Lim files more evidence of ‘vote buying’ vs Estrada
MANILA — The camp of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim filed additional evidence at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in its bid to disqualify winning mayoral candidate Joseph Estrada for alleged massive vote buying.
Lawyer Renato dela Cruz said these pieces of evidence were in the form of affidavits and would prove their earlier allegation that city government programs were used to buy votes for the May 9 polls.
In a phone interview, Dela Cruz said one of these programs was hiring 1,000 employees for the city’s social welfare department.
According to their witnesses Victorino Andres and Jaime Ortega, employees received P5,000 a month from January to June 30 “for doing nothing.”
Lim’s camp also assailed the alleged passing of ordinance allowing the city government to give away “goodies” to senior citizens. Dela Cruz also claimed that the Estrada administration gave away tablets to public school teachers. Both happened before the elections in violation of the election code, Dela Cruz said.
Estrada retained his position as mayor after beating Lim with a slim margin of 2,865 votes. The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried to get the side of
Estrada through his media officer but the latter did not reply to requests for comment.
To support their allegations, Dela Cruz said they filed an extreme urgent motion to suspend the effect of Estrada’s proclamation last May 27.
“While in the guise of helping the Manila Department of Social Welfare, the act of respondent Estrada was in gross violation of the provision of section 261(a) of the Omnibus Election Code,” read a separate statement from Lim’s camp.
Dela Cruz said this motion was a “supplement” to the petition to disqualify and annul proclamation, which they filed on May 18.
Dela Cruz said they were not able to include the affidavits of their witnesses in the May 18 filing.
When asked why it took them more than a week to file the supplemental motion, Dela Cruz said: “Lately lang namin nalaman kung sino-sino ang tumanggap.” (We learned who received the benefits only lately.) SFM
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