MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine military has launched an inquiry into reports some soldiers had been offered bribes by politicians to rig results of presidential elections next week, the army chief said on Monday.
General Delfin Bangit also vowed to impose tough sanctions against soldiers found to have engaged in partisan political activities, like openly endorsing any candidate for national and local positions.
"We're trying to find out if some of our soldiers had been offered bribes by any candidate or political party to influence election results," Bangit told reporters at the main army base in Manila, where he gathered about 3,000 troops.
Last week, Defence Secretary Norberto Gonzales told a meeting there would be cheating in the presidential elections on May 10 because some candidates had offered money to election officials and soldiers.
Gonzales' statement came days after opposition lawmaker Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino told reporters he had met some disgruntled generals to discuss potential scenarios if the elections on May 10 fail due to violence and massive fraud.
Bangit said he was not personally aware of attempts by some politicians to bribe soldiers to rig elections in their favour. Nonetheless, he asked senior army commanders to find out if any soldier had been engaged in partisan political activities.
"Definitely, we'll not allow cheating to happen," Bangit said. "We're putting at stake our reputation and careers to make sure we'll have a credible and free elections."
In 2004, there were allegations that some generals helped in the manipulation of votes in the southern Philippines to favour President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Arroyo faced four impeachment motions on charges of corruption and poll fraud but her allies in the lower house of Congress defeated all of them.
The military stayed loyal to her to defeat three attempts by rogue soldiers to seize power.
(Reporting by Manny Mogato; Edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
Trending On Reuters
A website with links to a Turkish far-left group which has been holding a prosecutor captive in Istanbul said on its Twitter feed late on Tuesday that the hostage had been shot and injured, whilst his three captors had been killed. Full Article | Related Story
- U.S. says ready to work past deadline for Iran nuclear deal if needed
- Heavy clashes on Saudi-Yemen border; Hadi government pleads for troops
- Lufthansa says co-pilot told flight school of depression
- Electrical fault corrected, 'Big Bang' collider to restart soon
- Armed prisoner who fled Virginia hospital captured in Washington
China to punish Tencent, Youku Tudou, other video sites for pornography Full Article