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Comelec: Expose vote-buying bets

The Commission on Elections urged the public to file complaints on vote buying before the October 28 village election day so that it can disqualify the erring candidates immediately. Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said a complaint filed after Election Day will be considered a criminal case that will go to the  regular court which will take longer to decide. “If it is an election case filed after Election Day, it will be a criminal charge. You can only remove them from office after conviction,” he said in a radio interview. Brillantes said there is no need for the complainant to have lots of evidence for the complaint to prosper before the commission. Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code defines vote-buying as the act of “any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value… directly or indirectly… in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate”. Violation of election laws would be tantamount to an election offense, which carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and prohibition to hold public office.
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