MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday signed an agreement formalizing the creation of the “Kontra-Bigay (Anti-Bribery) Commission.”
Comelec Chairman George Garcia said that prior to the signing of the memorandum of understanding, the Kontra-Bigay Commission was merely a task force charged with handling formal complaints against vote buying and selling.
“Dati po task force lamang en kontra bigay, mas pinarapat na po nating gawing permanent na committee…sapagka’t ‘yung laban po sa pamimili at pagbebenta ng boto ay hindi lang laban lang na common, kinakailangan po ‘yung tunay na dedikasyon at pagpapatunay sa mga kababayan na seryoso ang (Comelec) at lahat ng partner agencies niya,” said Comelec Chairman George Garcia during the signing.
(Previously kontra-bigay was just a task force, but we decided it was more appropriate to make it a permanent committee… because the fight against vote buying and selling is not just an ordinary fight, but real dedication and validation required to compatriots who take the (Comelec) and all its partner agencies seriously.)
Garcia explained that with the establishment of the Kontra-Bigay Commission, the prosecutorial arm of the government led by the National Prosecution Service and other agencies within the Ministry of Justice will now be on his side.
“Masisigurado natin in hindi lang matatakot, sadyang matututukan at magiging seryoso ang kampanya sa makabagong cancer ng ating demokrasya,” he added.
(We can be sure that the campaign against the modern cancer of our democracy will not only be feared, but will be targeted and serious.)
Meanwhile, DOJ Jesus Crispin Remulla highlighted how buying and selling votes is not only an act that deprives Filipinos of their right to vote, but also an “attack at the heart of our democracy.”
He then urged Filipinos to cooperate with the government in reporting incidents related to vote buying and selling, adding that with the formation of the commission, anyone who commits electoral crimes will be “with the will face the full force of the law.”
“If the Kontra-Bigay Committee chooses the Comelec, when it comes to using the electricity and Hindi of the Comelec, the entire nation must rally behind this cause,” Remulla said.
READ: Comelec launches anti-vote buying task force
(The establishment of the Comelec Anti-Bribery Committee is an important step, but the fight against electoral malpractice is not the job of the Comelec alone; the entire nation must rally behind this cause.)
“Dapat sama sama tayong lahat sa laban na ito. Dito papasok en kahalagan ng MOA op pipirmahan ngaoyn, sa moa na ito magkasamang tatayo at maguusap, layunin natin natin siguruihn na en mga nagkakasala sa eleksyon ay haahrap sa batas, a combination of Comelec’s investigative prowess and the DOJ’s prosecutorial power where we strive to ensure that those who commit electoral crimes face the full force of the law,” he added.
READ: Comelec warns against premature campaigning
(We must all be together in this fight. Here comes the importance of the MOA that will be signed today, in this MOA we will stand together, our goal is to ensure that those who commit crimes during the elections are brought to justice By combining the investigative power of the Comelec and the prosecutorial power of the DOJ, we aim to ensure that those who commit electoral crimes face the full force of the law.)