By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
BUTUAN City – Police seized nearly P8 million in cash suspected to be intended for the elections in Caraga days prior to last Monday’s elections.
The Caraga police said the money, amounting to P7,976,100, were from two politicians that were caught off guard after a composite police team led by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) served arrest warrants. The CIDG team included police officers from the municipal, provincial and regional office police offices.
Of the nearly P8 million, P5.952 million in various denominations were confiscated by authorities at the house of reelectionist Mayor Guia Sabanal of San Francisco, Surigao del Norte, May 10.
On May 9, Mayor Roberto Luna Jr. of Lingig, Surigao del Sur, was arrested and yielded over P2 million in different denominations, explosives, firearms and marijuana.
Meanwhile, the Caraga police said about nine cases of vote buying incidents were reported by different municipal police stations throughout the region on election day.
The most number of reported case came from the town of La Paz in Agusan del Sur with three suspects held by police for investigation.
Other areas that had reported incidents of vote buying currently being investigated by authorities are the towns of Nasipit in Agusan del Norte, Prosperidad and San Francisco in Agusan del Sur, Hinatuan and Lingig in Surigao del Sur, and Loreto town, Dinagat island.
One Amante Left
In another development, of the four members of the Amante clan who ran for various posts in Agusan del Norte, only Gov. Angelica Amante-Malba, who ran as representative of the province’s second district, won.
She beat her own brother, incumbent Rep. John Erlpe Amante, with whom she has had a falling out over the latter’s alleged marital infidelity.
Angelica obtained 120,068 votes against John Erlpe’s 69,623, with 100 percent of the returns already counted by the Commission on Elections.
In the gubernatorial race, Juan Miguel Amante, John Erlpe’s son, lagged behind Dale Corvera by over 50,000 votes.
Sammy Amante, the siblings’ uncle, was headed for a lopsided loss, trailing Law Fortun by over 100,000 votes in the race for representative of Agusan del Norte’s first district.
Angelica and her uncle ran under the ruling PDP-Laban, and John Erlpe and his son under the Nacionalista Party.
The Amante family’s dominance in Agusan del Norte politics dates back to the Marcos era, when its late patriarch, Edelmiro Amante, twice won as member of the Batasang Pambansa.
In the post-Marcos years, Edelmiro went on to become representative of Agusan del Norte for four terms. He served as former President Fidel V. Ramos’s executive secretary from September 1992 to June 1993. (with reports from Mindanews)