The Liberal Party in Pangasinan today denounced what they described as “systematized” and “massive vote-buying operations” that were reportedly taking place almost in all cities and towns of the province in the run up before the May 13 election day.
Former Vice Gov. Oscar Lambino, LP-Pangasinan spokesman, expressed apprehension that vote-buying was so rampant that it may affect election results in the province.
“We have been receiving field reports that vote-buying operations are taking place in all areas of Pangasinan three days before the actual election day,” Lambino said in a statement.
“The systematized vote-buying was obviously intended not only to affect the outcome of the electoral contest in the municipal level, but also in provincial and congressional levels,” he added.
Lambino noted that political operators have set up fixed and mobile “buying stations” in Pangasinan, where voters are given cash ranging from P200 to P500 stapled to sample ballots of certain candidates.
In some cases, he said, the vote-buyers were offering P10,000 to families with at least four registered voters in the household.
Lambino explained that the number of policemen deployed in the province were apparently not enough to cover the wide-scale vote-buying operations.
“To avoid detection by the police, the vote-buyers have set up stations in private residences as well as in properties of barangay officials,” the LP spokesman pointed out.
“These wily operators are so imaginative that they are using every nook and cranny as vote-buying stations. These include sari-sari stores and buses, where the cash are handed out together with the sample ballots,” he added.
Nevertheless, LP gubernatorial candidate Hernani A. Braganza expressed optimism that Pangasinan voters would not be swayed by the huge some of money given to them by these political operators.
“The voters of Pangasinan are intelligent enough to vote in accordance with their conscience, even if some of them were forced to accept money from candidates out of fear or necessity,” Braganza said.
“Some of them were even telling me: Kay Espino ang pera, Braganza sa balota,” he added.
Braganza explained that he and the other LP candidates have succeeded in explaining to the voters the problems plaguing Pangasinan as well as the possible solutions to address these issues.
“We have succeeded in discussing the real issues in this election, and our people have responded positively to our call for reforms and good governance,” he added.