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‘Kontra Bigay’ strengthens efforts vs vote-buying, vote-selling

SAN JOSE, Antique (PIA) -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) recently launched the Committee on Kontra Bigay (CKB) to strengthen the implementation of policies against vote-buying and selling.

The permanent Committee seeks to provide a mechanism and structure for tackling the election offenses of vote-buying and selling through a whole-of-nation approach that involves relevant instrumentalities of the government.

In Antique, the Provincial Committee on Kontra Bigay (PCKB) was officially launched on Oct. 2, giving emphasis on the commitment of member agencies to running after offenders and ensuring the sanctity of the local elections.

In her message, Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Salud Milagros T. Villanueva said that Comelec Resolution No. 10946 created the Committee and established rules and regulations in the disqualification of candidates for vote-buying and selling under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Villanueva stressed that any candidate found by Comelec to have given, offered, or promised money or anything of value, including money through digital or online transactions, to influence anyone to vote for or against any candidate shall be disqualified.

The Resolution, by virtue of Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, also provides guidelines in the prosecution of vote-buying and selling as an election offense which holds liable the giver, offerer, and promisor, including the solicitor, acceptor, and recipient.

Meanwhile, a person found guilty of vote-buying and selling who voluntarily gives information and testifies in an official investigation shall be exempt from prosecution and punishment and may be admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the government.

The Committee, alongside its accredited citizens’ arms Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), also administers the Kontra Bigay Complaint Center (KBCC) that receives reports and incidents of vote-buying and selling.

KBCC, which is open from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. until Oct. 28 and for 24 hours from Oct. 29-31, may be reached through its official social media accounts, email address at committee.kontrabigay@, and hotline numbers (02)8559-9947 or (02)8567-4567.

Further, complaints may be filed with Comelec’s Law Department, the offices of the Election Officer (EO), the Provincial Elections Supervisor (PES), the Regional Election Director, or the offices of the State, Provincial, or City Prosecutors where the alleged election offense of vote-buying and selling happened.

Vote-buying and vote-selling are considered election offenses, with a penalty of imprisonment of at least one year but not more than six years, apart from other penalties under existing laws. (AGP/BPS/PIA Antique with reports from Comelec)

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Bernard Ceasar Susbilla

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Region 6

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