FORMER San Juan City vice mayor Francis Zamora on Wednesday denied buying votes or dangling cash to residents to gain support for the petition calling for a recall election against Mayor Guia Gomez.
Zamora, son of Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, ran for mayor in the last election but lost to Gomez by a slim margin.
“The accusation of vote buying against me is a desperate lie. I vehemently deny the accusation. In fact, it should be the camp of Mayor Guia Gomez who should answer their own accusation because the story I get from the constituents of San Juan is that she engaged in massive vote-buying during the last elections that’s why she won. If I did as they accused me of, then I would have won,” Zamora said in a statement.
On Monday, two San Juan City residents – Lucila Robles and Veradel Surmieda –filed a complaint at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) accusing Zamora of vote-buying and undue influence, offenses that are punishable under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.
The complainants alleged that the act of vote-buying was done in the form of educational assistance in cash, in which residents were made to sign a piece of paper without knowing that they were already signing a petition for recall. The cash assistance allegedly ranged from P1,500 to P5,000 depending on the educational level of the resident’s child.
“I don’t use money to buy votes, that is not my style. I ran for mayor of San Juan precisely to change the system. If I bought votes then it would just be like the traditional system being perpetuated by the Estradas,” Zamora said.
“Their accusation that I use the educational assistance of Cong. Zamora for people to sign the petition is absolutely absurd. Clearly, the results of the last election manifest the glaring fact that the people of San Juan want change. If not for the massive vote buying through the distribution of “lugaw” with P1,000 to P3,000 the night before the elections and on the day itself, they would have lost. Then there was the fake “biometrics”
where people were paid the same amount but were tricked into believing that Mayor Gomez would know if they didn’t vote for her, so even if they wanted to vote for Francis Zamora, the fear of revenge from the Estradas prevailed upon them,” he added.