The Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) convenor, Msgr Julius Hernuela of the clergy, says there are politicians who are “tuplok”, those who hire volunteers purportedly to assist senior citizens, persons with disabilities so they are able to find their respective voting precincts without hazzle, but in truth their mission is to keep them busy looking for their precincts because what is given to them are the wrong precinct numbers.
These are just few of the things that the voters education campaign of the board will tackle in the next few weeks including some myths about the conduct of elections.
Heruela said there is no truth to information being peddled in the hinterland barangays that a politician has the gadget to know whom he has voted for any position. He said only the voter knows whom he has voted unless he will show it to the public. “WE HAVE TO BREAK THIS MYTH,” Heruela stressed.
On vote buying, Msgr Heruela cautioned trained volunteers against unknowingly falling prey into the hands of politicians by hiring them to do certain tasks with salaries as poll watchers without doing anything and when the budget is so big, the rest will be hired as ushers with lesser pay.
Another form of vote buying is the provision of transportation for voters and food stations, providing snacks before going to the voting precincts during election day.
The DEB voters education will also tackle possible intimidations like an experience in one of the municipalities that says “NO VOTE, IBOT.”
Provincial Election Officer Atty Eliseo Labaria admits vote buying is a perennial problem that when complaints reach the courts, it is one of the hardest to prosecute because it involves the seller and the buyer who should be impleaded in the accusation, the absence of one, the same is hard to prosper and dismissable.
He said “gituyo seguro ni sa mga magbabalaod nga mga pulitiko” to make it hard for the aggrieved party to prosecute in court.
The Diocesan Electoral Board under the diocese of Dumaguete has 5,000 volunteers including in Siquijor.
Msgr Heruela also disclosed the voters education will go down to the Kapilyas, in different schools and universities and a road show on how to use the vote counting machine (VCM) while the candidates forum will be in the Fil Products cable tv.
Monitoring groups will also be established, one of which is the Bantay Bayan where volunteers will be trained on how to send incident reports.
It will also monitor disposition of election supplies, like ballot boxes, ballots, including the VCMs, where serial numbers will be recorded and documented by the DEB.
To do this, Heruela has sought the help of the media, the amateur radio groups like NORAD-7, RECON, REACT and other radio organizations.
For students, soft copies of the voters list will be given to student leaders so they will be able to copy at this early stage voting precincts of their parents, their grandparents, relatives and friends so that during election day, dili na kaayo gubot ang presinto.