Diño: Drug money fuels election campaign
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Martin Diño on Thursday claimed that barangay poll bets were using drug money to buy votes.
“Talagang ang sumbong sa amin dito ay all over the Philippines, hindi lang Metro Manila (We received reports that this is going on all over the Phillippines, not just in Metro Manila,” Diño told reporters in an interview at Camp Crame.
According to Diño, the report proves that the drug trade is still prevalent in communities, and candidates in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections could even be part of illegal drugs operations.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) recently released a list of barangay officials allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade.
Diño claimed that more than 50 percent of the 207 personalities included in the so-called “narcolist” were seeking re-election in the May 14 polls.
He called on voters to refrain from vote-buying and report this prohibited activity to the department or the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Diño even told voters to slap those who will be caught buying votes.
‘Higher’ officials interfering?
The DILG official also said that ‘higher’ officials — mayors, governors and even congressmen — were reportedly interfering in the barangay polls.
He said incidents of harassment have been recorded in Siquijor, Abra and other provinces in Mindanao. Some candidates have been reportedly coerced to withdraw from the polls, while others have failed to file their certificates of candidacy.
Diño warned that officials who will be caught interfering in the polls will get sued and may be perpetually banned from holding public office.
“Sa barangay nag-uumpisa ang boto, ganyan ka powerful ang barangay (Voting starts in the villages. That is how powerful the villages are),” he added. /ee
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