BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Commission on Election yesterday urged the group of presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo in Negros Occidental to file formal complaints against those who harassed and threatened them.
Provincial Election supervisor Atty. Roberto Salazar disclosed that his office is ready anytime to receive their formal complaints, and they have to prove it.
Former Gov. Rafael Coscolluela, chairperson of the Robredo People’s Council in Negros Occidental, earlier revealed that their volunteers were threatened and barred from campaigning or bringing in campaigners in one of the towns in the fourth district of Negros Occidental.
Coscolluela also aired his concerns of the dirty tactics employed by the followers of rival presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr, an accusation vehemently debunked by former Murcia Mayor Esteban “Sonny” Coscolluela, the spokesman of BBM-Sara tandem in Negros Occidental.
When you alleged that you are being threatened and intimidated “you must prove it.” It’s like vote buying that you need to prove the commission of an illegal act, Salazar said.
He said that grave coercion is an election offense, and punishable under the Omnibus Election Law.
If there are formal complaints, Salazar said he will discuss it with the security sector of the Joint Provincial Security Coordinating Center for the conduct of an investigation.
Former Gov. Coscolluela agrees with Salazar that a formal complaint should be filed.
Our problem, he added, it is difficult to find a witness willing to sign a complaint affidavit, he stressed. “I can understand that they are defenseless,” the former governor added.
We don’t want to bring these, all the way to every legal process allowed by the law. We have better things to do. But we are just pointing this out, to make the public realize that the dirty tactics are surfacing, former Gov. Coscolluela said.
In fact, they are intensifying the employment of dirty tactics, among them “Operation Baklas” where persons being hired to do it are paid P1,000 a day, he claimed.*