T’boli admin bet cries vote buying

Dali Bayamban, T'boli election officer, said former T'boli Mayor Dad Tuan of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino submitted a letter-complaint on Tuesday afternoon detailing the alleged massive vote-buying and other fraudulent activities launched by supporters of reelectionist Mayor Ernesto Manuel of the Nationalist People's Coalition prior to Monday's mid-term local and national elections.

Manuel's camp immediately denied the allegations.

Bayamban said Tuan, along with some supporters, personally delivered the letter-complaint while the canvassing of votes was ongoing at the town council's session hall, triggering a brief commotion.

"We were forced to stop the canvassing when they came in because it caused a pandemonium there," Bayamban said in an interview with the Radio Mindanao Network here this morning.

He said the tension only subsided when Tuan agreed to leave the canvassing venue after a brief phone conversation with provincial election supervisor Atty. Lilian Radam.

In a separate radio interview, Tuan claimed that the incumbent mayor allegedly utilized about P8 to P10 million, some of which allegedly sourced from the town's calamity funds, to buy votes.

He said Manuel's camp allegedly gave out P200 to P300 to some residents in exchange for voting the mayor and his entire slate.

"Some sitio leaders received P1,000 while other barangay leaders were given as much as P5,000 to facilitate (the vote-buying)," Tuan said.

Efforts to reach Manuel were futile but a source from his camp has belied Tuan's allegations, stressing they are all baseless.

"That's a desperate act on their part considering (Manuel) is leading in the counting," the source said.

Manuel is reportedly leading the mayoral race based on the 42 election returns canvassed by the municipal board of canvassers as of Tuesday afternoon.

Bayamban said the municipal canvassing already resumed this morning after representatives from the camps of the town's six mayoral candidate, including Tuan, agreed to continue the proceedings.

He said Tuan also agreed to formalize the filing of his complaint to the provincial Comelec office based in this city.

"(Atty. Radam) already gave her assurance to take up Tuan's complaint as soon as she receives the formal complaint," Bayamban added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)