• PNP helpless vs. vote buyers

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    By Anthony Vargas Correspondent

    Stories of candidates doling out cash to voters abound, but one can hardly hear of reports about the arrest of a candidate or his supporters for vote buying.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP) admitted on Thursday that policemen are virtually helpless in stopping or prosecuting people engaged in vote-buying activities.

    PNP operations chief Director Alex Paul Monteagudo admitted that vote-buying becomes rampant as candidates wind down their campaign, especially in the provinces.

    “We rely on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to help us out, they are primarily responsible for this and it’s their mandate to effect [their]arrest,” Monteagudo told reporters in Camp Crame.

    He said policemen can’t make arrests if there are no complaints.

    “It’s hard to prove (vote-buying) in the absence of a complainant. They (vote-buyers) must be arrested in flagrante. We hope the public can help us arrest vote buyers,” Monteagu­do said.

    Another police official, who asked not to be named since he was not authorized to speak of the matter, said it is near impossible for a policeman to prove that there has been vote buying.

    “This is very difficult, first you must convince the voter that vote-buying had happened. Tracing the money from the voter to the politicians is another thing, unless they admit to it,” the police official said.

    Nevertheless, Monteagudo said that as far as the PNP is concerned, they are ready for any eventuality that may arise on Monday, elections day

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