Dumaguete Diocesan Electoral Board convenor, Msgr. Julius Heruela, has warned the electorate against recklessly signing documents that could force them to vote for a particular candidate, or support a political party, in the May 13 elections.
He added that while it is not an electoral offense for the candidates to get the support of voters through signature campaigns, these should not be used “to intimidate” people, especially those from the hinterlands and remote areas of the province.
The priest said he got hold of a copy of a document that contained the names and signatures of perceived voters/supporters of a candidate in a barangay in Sibulan town, Negros Oriental.
The document bears the name of the political party, town and barangay, precinct number and the name of a person believed to be an area coordinator. It contains text in Tagalog urging relatives, friends and neighbors in a particular precinct to write down their names in support of a gubernatorial candidate and other bets for various positions in the same political party.
Heruela refused to name these candidates for governor, vice-governor, congressional representative, board members, mayor, vice mayor and councilors, but stressed the list could be used to oblige the signatories to vote for these persons in the May 13 polls.
He said he will submit a report to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting national headquarters and other citizens’ arms so they can “share notes” as this practice could also be true for other areas in the country.
He said the electorate should vote wisely and according to their conscience.
Do not be blinded by money, Heruela urged the voters, and told them to determine first why their names and signatures are required before writing them down on paper.*JFP
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