Mobile phone purchase surge not linked to vote-buying

General

The surge in mobile phone sales in Surigao del Sur cannot be automatically attributed to vote-buying, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Sunday.

Acting Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said reports that popular mobile phone brands were sold out in three shopping malls in the towns of Tagbina, Barobo, and Lianga should not be linked to poll-related violations.

“Coming not from the Comelec but coming from siguro (perhaps) a lawyer’s point of view, the escalation of the purchases in itself does not automatically mean anomalies or crimes,” he said in a press briefing.

Escalation of purchases cannot even be considered a crime.

“In fact, hindi nga po krimen eh (It’s not a crime). Kung ganyan po kasi na mayroong pagbabawal sa escalation ng (of) purchases, dapat naging krimen (If there are prohibition on the escalation of purchases, then it should be a crime) but it’s not a crime,” he added.

Nevertheless, he assured the public that the Comelec is in close coordination with National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to investigate the incident.

“Hihinihintay din po namin ‘yung feedback nila (NTC)…Lagi naman po silang nagfi-feedback sa ’min (We are just waiting for their feedback…They always give us a feedback). And in cases like this, I believe, they would be the first to give feedback to us kung mayroon po silang nade-detect na anomaly (if they detect any anomaly),” he said.

Laudiangco said the Philippine National Police (PNP) cybercrime division has yet to report incidents of vote-buying in Surigao del Sur.

Amid numerous attempts to hack into the Comelec website, Laudiangco said it is “not a cause for concern” but something that needs to be prepared for in the coming elections.

More than 20,000 cyberattack attempts were foiled by the Department of Information and Communications Technology before and during the May 9 elections.

Source: Philippines News Agency