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Over P12M seized from vote buying – PNP

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) admitted that vote buying was rampant in the recently concluded midterm polls.

As proof, authorities were able to seize more than P12 million from a total of 449 violators over the course of the election.

“Lahat ng nakumpiskang pera ay magsisilbing ebidensya laban sa mga na-apprehend natin na violators,” said PNP Spokesperson Police Col. Bernard Banac.

(All cash confiscated will serve as evidence against the apprehended violators.)

The highest amount seized was in Caraga region amounting to almost P8 million.

Other areas with the most number of vote buying incidents were Northern Mindanao with more than P1 million seized followed by Cagayan Valley (P561,000); Metro Manila (P541,100); and Bicol Region (P449,080).

From the 449 violators, a total of 356 were arrested, 85 persons evaded arrest while eight minors were rescued.

Most of the violators were from Metro Manila, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM); and from Regions 4a and 6.

“Wala pa tayong na-apprehend ngayon na nakakulong na sa vote buying dahil ang mga suspects at violators ay na-release for further investigation,” Banac said.

(None of those apprehended for vote buying were detailed because the suspects or violators were later released for further investigation.)

Appropriate charges were filed against the suspects for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.

If proven guilty, they will serve one up to six years jail term and in case of election candidates, they will be disqualified from holding public office.

The PNP is also looking into the possibility of using drug money in vote buying. – (with details from Lea Ylagan) Marje Pelayo

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Official count gives Widodo election victory in Indonesia

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Indonesian president Joko Widodo speaking during a field visit, interview with Widodo’s supporters | Courtesy: (c) 2019 Thomson Reuters

Incumbent President Joko Widodo won last month’s Indonesian election with 55.5 percent of votes against 44.5 percent for his challenger, retired General Prabowo Subianto, the election commission’s official count announced early on Tuesday (May 21).

“The valid ballots voted for presidential candidate number one, Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, is 68,650,239 or 44.5 percent of the total national votes,” said Commissioner Evi Novida Ginting of Indonesia’s National Election Commission.

The official result released by the General Election Commission (KPU) confirms unofficial counts by private pollsters of the April 17 election, giving Widodo a comfortable victory, though it could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

Widodo won with over 85 million of the total 154 million votes cast in the world’s third-largest democracy.

“The valid ballots voted for presidential candidate number one, Joko Widodo and Maruf Amin, is 85,607,362 or 55.5 percent of the total national votes,” Ginting said.

An election supervisory agency earlier on Monday (May 20) dismissed claims of systematic cheating because of a lack of evidence and independent observers and analysts have said the poll was free and fair.

The losing party can lodge a legal challenge at the constitutional court. Otherwise, the commission will officially declare the winner by May 28. (REUTERS)

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Ex-Ombudsman Morales temporarily held at HK airport

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales
FILE PHOTO: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales

MANILA, Philippines – Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was temporarily held at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday (May 21).

According to Deputy Consul General Germinia Aguilar-Usudan, Morales arrived at 12:20 p.m. along with her family for a vacation.

Her family was allowed entry but the Hong Kong Immigration Officials stopped her and held her at the airport.

With assistance from Philippine Consulate officials, Morales was allowed entry at around 3:00 p.m but she decided to just take a flight back to the Philippines.

Aguilar-Usudan said, however, they were not informed of the exact reason why Morales was held.

The former Ombudsman and her family will take Philippine Airlines flight PR307 to Manila.

In March, Morales along with former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, filed a complaint of crimes against humanity against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for purportedly damaging the resources at the disputed territory in West Philippine Sea through China’s ongoing reclamation activities in the area. —Marje Pelayo (with details from Ferdie Petalio | UNTV Hong Kong)

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Blast hits tourist bus, injuring over 10 in Cairo

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

An explosion hit a tourist bus near Cairo, Egypt that left 10 people injured. | Image grabbed from Reuters footage

An explosion hit a tourist bus near the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Sunday, injuring at least 10 people.

The blast occurred in the afternoon when the bus carrying 25 foreign tourists was hit by an explosive device near the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Some witnesses heard a huge sound at that time and state-run Nile TV said the blast shattered the glass windows of the bus and other nearby vehicles.

According to Egypt’s security department, the blast was caused by unknown explosive put outside the fence of the museum. Preliminary investigation shows that the blast was triggered by a remote-controlled device.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said the blast didn’t cause damage to the museum, which is under repair and scheduled to open to the public next year.

As of now, no individual or organization has claimed responsibility for the blast. (REUTERS)

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