Probe sought on ‘vote buying’ by Bebot using Dole program

THE Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas (Dole 7) will investigate allegations that outgoing Cebu City South District Rep. Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa used one of the agency’s programs to buy votes.Lawyer Ernesto Rama wrote a letter to Dole 7 on May 2, 2022, asking it to investigate the alleged listing of individuals who were promised that they would become beneficiaries of the agency’s Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad) program.Rama said the incident took place in the Abellanosa-owned Asian College of Technology (ACT) and also in Barangays Guadalupe and Mambaling.According to Rama’s letter, the individuals were told to return on a specific date so they will receive P500 as a down payment of their Tupad salary, with the balance to be paid after the May 9 election.“We think the giving of cash as down payment is an act of vote-buying,” said Rama.Rama asked Dole 7 if the scheme was sanctioned by the agency and if the act of giving a down payment of the Tupad salary was in accordance with existing rules and regulations provided by law.Dole Undersecretary Victor del Rosario replied to Rama’s letter, saying the Tupad program is done through the agency’s office and the salaries are released through money remittance service providers.“It is our money remittance partners who will send a message to the beneficiaries that they can already claim their wages,” said Del Rosario.Del Rosario said the Dole would make the necessary validation of Rama’s accusations.Abellanosa is not running this election, but his son, BG, will face Councilor Edu Rama of Partido Barug-PDP Laban party this election for a seat in the House of Representatives.SunStar Cebu reached out to Abellanosa for his comment, but as of press time, the outgoing congressman had not responded.Meanwhile, Mayor Michael “Mike” Rama confirmed to SunStar Cebu that Ernesto Rama is connected with the Barug-PDP Laban as legal counsel.Rama said they sought the services of the lawyer to ensure that there will be a peaceful and orderly election in the city.Bomb threatMeanwhile, on the afternoon of Thursday, May 5, personnel from the Philippine National Police responded to an alleged bomb threat at the ACT Main Campus at P. Del Rosario Street.However, after a thorough inspection, the police officials declared the incident a false alarm.On his Facebook page, BG Abellanosa claimed the information about a possible bomb threat came from the office of the mayor.“In fairness, walay kalibutan ang police. Gi lawgan ra sila og fake info sa taga office of the mayor nga adunay bomb threat sa ACT. Desperado na,” said BG. (The police had no idea. They were just given fake information from the mayor’s office about a bomb threat at ACT. They’re already desperate.)The mayor has not yet commented on this allegation. / IRT