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July 15, 2019 Press Releases

Following his warning against vote-buying nationwide, Senator Richard J, Gordon was further incensed upon getting reports of massive vote-buying by an alleged narco-politician in Olongapo City.

Gordon has received reports that practically almost all the barangays in Olongapo City were invaded by people buying votes rampantly and scandalously-in Old Cabalan, Barretto, East Tapinac, Gordon Heights, Mabayuan, New Kalalake, Sta. Rita, and West Bajac-Bajac. It was also happening in Castillejos and other towns in Zambales.

Reports said people of Congressman Jeffrey Khonghun and incumbent Mayor Rolen Paulino, the mayor out on bail for graft and corruption charges before the Sandiganbayan, were seen overseeing the operation of buying votes.

"I am chagrined by the massive vote buying by an alleged narcopolitician and his corrupt cohorts in my hometown. Narco-politics has arrived in Olongapo City and we are going to cut off its head. It is very clear that all these money come from drugs. Not only are Congressman Khonghun, violating the Omnibus Election Code but also manifesting the power of drug money in shaping and killing our democracy. Huwag pabayaan na pasukin ng droga ang mga community. Hoy gising, Olongapo! Nananawagan ako sa lahat ng tao na labanan at supilin and threat ng droga sa pulitika at kabuhayan," he said.

Gordon pointed out that they are desperate to put their families, kin and cohorts, thinking that this would ensure their protection from cases, just as other politicians have done and protection for their illegal operations.

Four Khonghuns are running in the 2019 National and Local Elections: Jeffrey Khonghun for Congressman of the 1st District of Zambales, Jay Khonghun for Vice Governor of Zambales Province, Jonathan Khonghun for Mayor of Subic, Zambales, and Jamel Khonghun Escalona for city councilor of Olongapo. The Khonghuns are fighting a very costly battle against the Magsaysay clan, who is running Mitos Magsaysay for Congress.

On the other hand, Paulino, who withdrew his candidacy for mayor because of his graft and corruption cases, substituted his son as candidate for mayor after he was charged of graft and corruption by the Ombudsman and after he was found guilty of grave misconduct and suspended for six months. Paulino also had his daughter run as councilor of Olongapo City.

"What they're actually doing is undercutting democracy and exploiting the poverty of the people in Olongapo City. They have been able to do this in the past two elections. Do not take their money. It is drug money. We will not let our city and the province be filled with drugs. These people must be prosecuted, first, for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act and, second, for committing vote buying, in violation of Section 261 (a) (1) of the Omnibus Election Code immediately before the elections. They must not be allowed to get away with it. I'm sure this is happening all over the Philippines by desperate politicians who do not want to lose the elections," Gordon stressed, adding that he has already initiated an investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which he heads.

Reports said the two camps invited people to certain houses and locations. They would ask the people to line-up outside, they would counter-check these peoples' names in the voters' list, and, once confirmed as voters, they give them P1,000.00 each and I.D. cards, told they are watchers of Congressman Jeffrey Khonghun, Atty. Rolen Paulino, Jr. (candidate for Mayor of Olongapo City), Atty. Noel Atienza (candidate for Vice Mayor), Jamiel Khonghun Escalona (candidate for city councilor) and other candidates for councilor of Olongapo City.

Witnesses who, themselves, have received P1,000.00 from the people of Khonghun and Paulino, as well as others who saw persons being given P1,000.00 each and instructed to "vote straight" for the Khonghun-Paulino ticket gave sworn testimonies.