BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Robredo People’s Council- Negros Occidental yesterday urged the Commission on Elections to investigate and immediately address the increasing incidence of alleged cases of election-related dirty tricks in the different towns and cities of the province.
Former Governor Rafael Coscolluela, RPC provincial campaign manager, expressed concern over at least five “dirty tricks” used against the Leni-Kiko campaign, namely, “Pamahog (threats), Patalang (deceptions), Pasalig (assurances), Pamakal (vote buying) and Pangbaklas (removal of campaign materials).”
Coscolluela said the volunteers of Vice President Leni Robredo in Pulupandan are holding their meetings outside of the town due to threats.
“They were told not to campaign, are being prohibited from displaying tarpaulins or posters and being barred from bringing in campaigners,” the former governor stressed during a press conference yesterday in Bacolod City.
In other words, there is no democracy in that small town, Coscolluela added.
He also revealed that it is also happening in two towns of the 6th district and three towns in the 4th district.
Coscolluela issued an appeal to the mayor of Pulupandan and all other mayors to be the “lead persons” in assuring the people of Negros Occidental “that we will have a clean campaign.”
The former governor also noted the removal of VP Leni tarpaulins strategic areas of the province. But the most bothersome case occurred in Bago City, where their tarpaulins were not only taken down, but sliced into small pieces and re-assembled to constitute the initials of another candidate.
“It’s adding insult to injury,” he stressed.
Coscolluela also reported the buying of so-called loyalty, where mostly barangay officials, including tanod members and family leaders being gathered, given a certain amount, and being told to ensure that a certain candidate should win so that they can get projects, among other incentives.
So, it’s buying the votes in a very organized and sophisticated way, he said.
What they are saying is, government funds are being used for politics. To me, it is very insulting, Coscolluela pointed out.
This is clearly a sign of a return to the old traditional politics, Coscolluela said.
These “trapo” methods, the RPC provincial head pointed out, are used by people who are prepared to go to any lengths in order to improve their chances of winning, even if it subverts the people’s free will.
Asked who might be behind in the employment of “dirty tactics”, Coscolluela claimed that the camp of presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is the only one capable of doing it, citing their resources and political clout.
He also noted that there are no visible campaigners for other presidential candidates.
Twenty-eight of the 31 mayors and four solons in Negros Occidental have pledged their support to the presidential bid of Bongbong Marcos.
They are claiming that the election in Negros Occidental is already finished, as they are already winning, so why resort to such dirty tactics, Coscolluela asked.
He asked the Comelec to investigate it.
If the Comelec finds that there is a reason to declaring a certain area as a “hotspot”, or calling the attention of a certain politician about these dirty tactics, then I am hoping that the Comelec will act accordingly, Coscolluela said.
He also said that RPC-Negros Occidental also established quick response teams composed of a lawyer, a local political leader and a representative of the media, to help those being harassed or intimidated.
We are also hoping that Comelec will establish visibility that will constitute a deterrent to those employing dirty tactics.*