Bohol willÂ be recorded as a “very expensive place to run for a position” during elections as massive vote buying marred the last four days of the campaign period for tomorrow’s presidential and local elections in the country.
Meanwhile, Prov’l Comelec Supervisor Jerome Brillantes said the PNP and the Philippine Army will closely monitor eight towns listed under Comelec Watch List, namely, Inabanga, Buenavista, Danao, Antequera, Bilar, Tubigon, Ubay and Clarin. Loay will also be monitored due to the presence of armed goons who fired their firearms two weeks ago before terrified voters. He allayed fears of fraud amidst a smear campaign against the Comelec which spread in the social media that there were testings of the voters counting machine which favored administration presidential bet Mar Roxas.
Some mayoralty bets are buying votes up to P2,000 per voter while in some municipalities, the release of funds to buy votes come in first and second waves from both political camps.
There is even a report that a wealthy mayoralty bet is ready to spend P30 millionÂ in a town with a little more than 10,000 voters only.
The vote buying trend in the province has become bigger each election especially in a joint national and local polls as the money would come from the provincial, congressional and local candidates. Even candidates for town councilors would have to staple P40 in his flyer or in a sample ballot.
“Much as I want to run to serve government, I see Bohol as not the place to run as politics here has gone very expensive,” a retired national government official toldÂ The ChronicleÂ in an interview.
Amidst this massive vote buying, aÂ heavy turnout of the 798,768 registered voters is expected to troopÂ to polling precincts which will open at 6 o’clock tomorrow morning. Voting precints will close at 5 in the afternoon,.
Tagbilaran City hasÂ 59,949 registered voters who will troop toÂ 83 clustered precincts that covers 351 precincts and 16 polling centers.
In the entire province, there areÂ 1,066 polling places and 5,471 precincts in the 1,109 barangays.
The top 10 vote rich municipalities are Ubay (41,792), Talibon (33,211), Carmen (29,767), Loon (27,676), Dauis (26,470), Tubigon (26,394). Inabanga (25,979), Panglao (21,394), Guindulman (20,529) andÂ Jagna (20,495).
Comelec Supervisor Brillantes advised electorates to cast their votes early as he expects a jam of voters since it will take longer time due to the issuance of a voter’s receipt. He also advised voters to bring a list of whom to vote so to write faster while inside his precint
Meanwhile, around 438 of the Bohol voters come from among the inmates who are allowed to vote for national candidates only.Â Â At least 386 come from Bohol District Jail and Tagbilaran City Jail, while 52 come from Carmen District Jail.
This is based on the General Instructions issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) national office, stating that inmates not yet convicted or those who are still awaiting court decisions on their cases are allowed to vote for national candidates.
Voting by inmates inside the jails is manual and vote-counting machines will not be used.
There are 60,057 inmates in the Central Visayas Region who can vote on Monday—438 in Bohol, and 5,619 in Cebu. None from Siquijor.
TheÂ support staff of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) will take charge of bringing the ballots from the polling precincts to the jails with tight security escorts.
In the voting process at the jails, the voting inmates will fill up the ballots and place them inside the envelopes and the Special Board Election Inspector will bring the envelopes containing the ballots to the polling precincts.
The Special Board Election Inspector will be accompanied by the support staff and the police escorts in transporting the ballots.
At the polling precincts, the BEI will feed the ballots in the VCMs in the presence of poll watchers of every party.
Comelec appointed 18 special BEIs wherein 15 of them are assigned at the BDJ and Tagbilaran City Jail with two support staff, while three are assigned at Carmen District Jail with one support staff who will man the voting of inmates.
TESTING OF VCMs
City Election Officer Roco Lamanilao debunked allegations that during the final testing and sealing of Vote-Counting Machines (VCMs), a vote for one candidate was credited to another candidate.
Lamanilao said that there was no such incident, and that the FTS was conducted in the presence of the public and representatives of some political camps.
VCM testing in several areas in Bohol showed that the machines worked properly.
In the VCM demo, they used names of celebrities and that of candidates.
In the FTS that followed last Friday, all the 1,546 VCMs to be used in Bohol in tomorrowâ€™s election worked and reflected the actual votes cast.
All VCM boxes came with the complete set of election paraphernalia, together with the VCM that came with a power cord, SD cards, 10 FTS ballots and 8 rolls of thermal paper, three iButtons, USB modem with SIM cards (Globe, Smart and Sun), marking pens, cleaning sheets and sealing stickers.
Personal Identification Nos. (PINS) to operate the VCM and digital signatures were also accounted for.
After the FTS, the VCMs were â€œre-zeroedâ€ for the final sealing.
The VCMs will only be opened again only on election day.
There areÂ 1,546 clustered precincts provincewide.
PEACE & ORDER
Police Superintendent Lorenzo Batuan, chief of the Operations Branch of the BPPO, the Regional Public Safety Batallion-7 deployed 500 more police personnel as augmentation force in Bohol.
The police personnel and armyÂ personnel will be deployed to the polling places and areas declared under EWAs starting this Friday for the preventive measures.
Around 1,500 police personnel in the entire province are on heightened alert with each police station having at least 21 officers.
Two policemen will be assigned to secure 1546 precincts in the province while the others will be tasked to overlook the delivery of election paraphernalia.
More troops are deployed to EWAs such as Antequera, Tubigon, Clarin, Inabanga, Danao, Buenavista, Ubay, and Bilar.
Teams will also be deployed by Boheco 1 to the 27 towns within their coverage area, Boheco 2 for the 20 towns it serves, and BLCI for the Tagbilaran City area to ensure stable power supply.
Power connections to the polling places were already inspected and preventive maintenance routine on the substations had already been completed.
The DepEd officials had also finished inspecting the classrooms utilized as polling precincts.
Meanwhile, the 47th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army has been deployed and is ready to help maintain peace and order during the May 9 elections and the days leading to it, augmenting the already beefed up forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
According to Lt. Col. Jose Dodjie Belloga Jr., commander of the 47th Infantry Battalion stationed in Bohol, the troop is already 100 percent organized and briefed to take necessary actions and secure areas across the province during the elections.
The infantry commander assured the public of the battalionâ€™s speedy mobilization through an interview with DYRD Balita.
Troops of the battalion were being deployed since April 28 and are stationed in 45 towns to aid the PNP in maintaining peace and order during the elections, Belloga added.
The unit will also provide security in the transport of vote-counting machines and manning checkpoints set up across the province.
Around ten soldiers will be dispatched to secure each municipality excluding Tagbilaran City, as Belloga noted the large contingent of police personnel in the capital.