Voters who ‘sold’ votes in Surigao Sur go on mobile phone buying spree

Mobile phone stores at the Gaisano Grand Mall in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur were crowded by shoppers from the neighboring towns of Surigao del Sur on May 10 and 11. MindaNews photo courtesy of CHRIS PANGANIBAN, JR.

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 13 May) — For two straight days after the May 9 polls, most of the popular low-cost mobile phone brands were sold out at the three shopping malls here as residents from the neighboring towns of Surigao del Sur went on a shopping spree, using the money they allegedly exchanged for votes.

The shoppers from Tagbina, Barobo and Lianga towns in Surigao  del Sur who reportedly got P6,000 each for selling their votes to the local candidates in their province stormed Gaisano Grand Mall, Gaisano Capital and Davao Central Warehouse on May 10 and 11.

Chris Panganiban, Jr., son of this writer who is a salesman of a mobile phone store at Gaisano Grand, said they sold at least 180 units of Vivo and Real Me brands for two straight days after election day on May 9.

Panganiban Jr. said that other stores in the mall, including stalls at the aisles, also experienced brisk sales that most of them ran out of stocks.

Other mobile phone stores at the Gaisano Capital, Davao Central Warehouse and at the town center also enjoyed big sales.

Most of these brands are sold at P6,000 to P7,000 per unit.

Other commercial establishments, including restaurants at the public market, were also jampacked by people with money that purportedly came from the proceeds of their votes.

Toto Banas, a meat store owner at the public market, said all their meat supplies were already sold out by noon the day after the May 9 elections.

Macario Angelia, a resident in Lianga town, said the rival camps in the province were separately buying votes at P2,500 to P3,500 for each voter who, according to him, had a “grand time getting the money left and right.”

Some candidates had been even giving P500 for each voter as a catch up on election day to make sure they will win, he added.

Reelectionist Gov. Alexander Pimentel of Hugpong Surigao defeated Cantilan Mayor Carla Pichay, 195,606 against 159,746 votes.

Carla is the wife of reelectionist First District Rep. Prospero Pichay, who lost to Construction Workers Solidarity partylist Rep.  Romeo Momo. Momo obtained 106,907 votes while Pichay gathered 97,783.

 In the second congressional district, reelectionist Rep. Johnny Pimentel trounced Edmund Estrella. Pimentel got 110,852 votes while Estrella only garnered 35,136 votes. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)

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