Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday said his office will be eyeing the help of banks to check on cashless transactions used in vote-buying and electoral fraud.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner George Garcia earlier said the poll body has received information regarding the use of cashless transactions for vote-buying in some areas.
Guevarra, during the Laging Handa public briefing, said these cashless transactions may be even easier to prove due to a more evident paper trail to follow.
“Palagay ko ay kung makikita na maliwanag na may pattern iyang ganiyang mga bank transactions ay magiging isang matibay na ebidensiya iyan ng vote-buying kasi may record iyan eh. Makikita iyong pinanggagalingan, makikita kung saan patungo, so may mai-establish na pattern iyan (If there is a pattern for these bank transactions it can be a robust evidence for a case of vote-buying because there are records where the money came from and where it went, and so patterns can be established),” he said.
Guevarra added the evidence of the transactions itself must be paired with other evidence. “Hindi siya kumpleto by itself, pero put together with other pieces of evidence, you can make out a case (It is not complete by itself but put together with other pieces of evidence, you can make out a case) the DOJ chief said adding that coordination with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) may be needed.
“Siyempre sa umpisa ang makakasuhan lamang ay iyong aktuwal na nahuli na namimili ng boto. And let me emphasize also, na hindi lamang iyong namimili ang punishable under the law. Under the Omnibus Election Code, iyong nanghihingi or iyong tumatanggap at nangangako na boboto or hindi boboto para sa isang tao in consideration of the money or the thing of value na kaniyang natanggap. Iyong person na iyon na nag-receive is also liable (Initially, the person who was proven to buy votes will be penalized, but under the Omnibus Election Code, those who solicit or receive money and promises to vote or not vote for a person in consideration of the money or the thing of value received is also liable),” Guevarra said.
He added that the National Prosecution Service, Public Attorney’s Office and the National Bureau of Investigation will be working with Comelec’s Kontra Bigay and will give the highest priority to these cases. (PNA)