4 vote-buyers in Cotabato held

POLICE in Mlang, North Cotabato on Friday arrested four men said to be engaged in ‘vote-buying’ and who yielded more than P200,000 in P100 bills, Police Regional Office 12 director, Brigadier General Eliseo T. Rasco said yesterday.

The official identified the suspects as driver Mateo Cuarteros, 52; and Christine Esparagoza, 33; both residents of Poblacion, Carmen, Cotabato; and Sonny Pasquin, 55; and Joel Bolero, 55, both farmers residing in New Rizal, Mlang. Police are still investigating the politician who employed the four.

According to Rasco, members of the Mlang Municipal Police Station led by Lieutenant Colonel Geovanni Ladeo and soldiers from the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion went to the barangay hall of New Kalibo 4:30 p.m. Friday to verify a report from a concerned citizen regarding an alleged vote-buying activity taking place in the area.

The PRO12 director said that when the suspects sensed the presence of the lawmen, they immediately locked themselves up inside their service vehicle: a white Mitsubishi Strada pick-up with plate no. LGM-741 which was parked five meters away from the village hall.

He said that the four refused to roll their windows down and stayed in their vehicle, its engine running for three hours until their legal counsel arrived.    Alfred Dalizon

Rasco said that when witnesses positively identified the four as the persons who were engaged in a vote-buying activity in their barangay,  officers searched the vehicle where they recovered 2,660 pieces of crisp P100 bills amounting to P200,600 and four sheets of paper with names and signatures of different persons, apparently those whose votes have been bought by the four.