MANILA— Two San Juan City residents filed a complaint against losing mayoral bet Francis Zamora for alleged vote buying in exchange of getting support in the recall elections petition filed against Mayor Guia Gomez.
Lucila Robles and Veradel Surmieda filed an affidavit/complaint before the Law Department of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) accusing Zamora of vote buying by offering educational assistance to those who reside in the said city in exchange for their signature in the recall petition against the local chief executive.
“The mentioned residents of San Juan City were given educational assistance in the form of cash for which they were made to sign a piece of paper without knowing they were already signing a Petition for Recall,” according to the complaint.
They said that when they sought for the educational assistance offered by San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, they were screened thoroughly to know if they support his son, Francis, or not.
The complainants added that if the applicants were not supporters of Zamora, they are being made to sign the recall petition in order to initiate the processing of the educational assistance.
“Sa pagkakataong iyon, maraming pumirma sa petition dahil maraming tao ang kailangan ang educational assistance,” they added.
Both claimed that the educational assistance amounted to PHP1,500 to PHP3,000 per beneficiary.
“Aming napag-alaman na ang ginawa ni dating vice mayor Francis Zamora na nagbigay ng financial assistance at cash kapalit ng pagpirma ng recall petition ay labag sa batas dahil ito ay bawal sa Omnibus Election Code na isang uri ng pagkalap ng impluwensiya at pamimili ng boto,” the complainants added.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, it is considered as an election offense if one engages in vote-buying, wherein an individual gives, offers, or promises money or anything of value in order to induce the public to vote for or against any candidate.
An election offense carries the penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification to hold public office.
Last week, supporters of the younger Zamora filed a petition calling for a recall election in the city against Gomez.