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Millions of pesos in bets riding on Estrada or Lim win

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Mayor Alfredo Lim and Joseph Estrada. FILE PHOTO

Despite a law that prohibits people from betting on the outcome of an election, some of the supporters of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada have reportedly started placing multimillion-peso wagers on who will occupy city hall.

The information came from a reliable Inquirer source, a police official, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

The source said the bets were being placed by moneyed followers of the two politicians who were apparently not content with just waiting for the outcome of the one of most-highly anticipated electoral contests in Metro Manila.

According to the source, the agreed-upon wagers initially started at P500,000 but these have since gone up to millions of pesos in the days leading to the polls.

Sought for a reaction, Estrada’s running mate, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, confirmed the report although he stressed that he disapproved of the placing of bets.

“I will not tolerate such things because I respect the sanctity of the people’s votes,” Moreno told the Inquirer.

Ric de Guzman, Lim’s chief of staff, also said he had heard about the report although he denied involvement in the placing of bets.

“You know how it is. People place bets even on trivial matters but we are not taking part in any of that,” he added.

‘Word of honor’

The source said that the multimillion-peso bets were not covered by an official agreement. “What’s at stake is their word of honor. They just shake hands and there is no exchange of documents. It’s an informal thing [even though] it’s a lot of money.”

According to the Omnibus Election Code, placing bets on the results of an election or any poll-related contingency is considered an election offense with the wagers in danger of being forfeited in the government’s favor.

In Antipolo City, money also changed hands although two men ended up being arrested on Monday for vote-buying.

Senior Supt. Rolando Anduyan, Antipolo police chief, said that more than 50 people were lined up on Maguey Street in Barangay (village) San Luis near a polling center when a police car passed by the area and spotted two men handing out cash in amounts ranging from P500 to P1,000.

The two were later identified as Mario Natividad and Marvin Eleponga. Asked who they were telling people to vote for, Anduyan confirmed that it was Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares III who is contesting the mayoral seat against incumbent Antipolo Mayor Nilo Leyble.

Box full of money

He added that the two men were carrying a “box full of money” when they were spotted by the police. Both tried to escape but they were eventually caught.

In Mandaluyong City, authorities on Monday arrested 12 suspected flying voters at Ilaya Barangka Elementary School at 10:30 a.m.

Senior Supt. Florendo Quibuyen, city police chief, identified them as Mario Arabiana Laquiadao, Jack Granada de la Paz, Billones Dindo Angeles, Martinez Ernesto Angeles, Edgar Guevarra, Crisanto Farmin, Dennis Famitangko, Danilo Esquillo, Venjielyn Ortiz, Crisanto Fermin, Morador Ronear Edward Salvane and Nilo Sagasig.

Quibuyen said barangay watchers sought the help of members of the Joint Security Assistance Desk after they found out the 12 were not residents of the area.

In some areas in Tondo, Manila, barangay officials received from a mayoral candidate envelopes containing P1,000 in cash a week before the elections.

One of the recipients who identified herself only as Lyn said that most of them used the money to buy food for their families.

On the other hand, a candidate for councilor in Manila’s fourth district invited residents to a meeting where they received shirts, sandwiches and P100 each.

A favor for a friend

In Quezon City, 40-year-old Jerico (not his real name) told the Inquirer that he voted for a candidate in the fourth district after a friend gave him P300.

Jerico, however, said that he didn’t consider this as vote-buying. “I just did a friend a favor and earned a little ‘easy money.’ I do not see anything wrong with that.”

According to him, he was buying cigarettes from a store when he met a friend who casually asked him if he was a voter in the fourth district.

When Jerico replied that he was his acquaintance asked him: “Don’t forget my boss. He needs as many votes as he can get.”

The man then handed him an envelope, saying, “This is P300. It’s for your merienda (snack).”—With Kristine Felisse Mangunay and Jeannette I. Andrade

Originally posted: 8:29 pm | Monday, May 13th, 2013

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