Quezon City mayoral candidate Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo has been released from jail after he was arrested for a vote buying-related incident.
He was set free after the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office ordered his release in a resolution issued this afternoon. His son Frederick and 44 other people arrested last night were also released, CNN Philippines reported.
According to the prosecutors, there was no clear evidence that vote buying and selling took place. However, they did recommend a preliminary investigation for the other accusations linked to Crisologo’s heated encounter with authorities last night, which includes alleged grave coercion, resistance and disobedience, and usurpation and illegal detention.
Crisologo was arrested last night after he allegedly locked police officers inside a house that was allegedly the site of a vote-buying operation. The authorities were there after receiving a tip that the house allegedly contained money to buy votes.
A person who is allegedly part of Crisologo’s team let the officers in the house and reportedly gave them cash and a photo of the mayoral candidate, the report added. However, police were only able to recover PHP800 (US$15.31) from the scene.
Crisologo also allegedly cursed and threatened the police that he would file charges against them.
The police plan to file charges of unjust vexation, direct assault, and obstruction of justice against Crisologo. He is represented by controversial senatorial candidate Larry Gadon, among other lawyers.
After his release at around 2pm today, Crisologo went home before proceeding to his polling station in Barangay (Village) Sta Cruz to vote at around 3:30pm, Rappler reported. He is currently the representative for Quezon City’s first district but is running against incumbent Mayor Joy Belmonte for the mayoral post.
Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez said earlier today that Crisologo’s arrest won’t affect his candidacy, at least not immediately.
“He was arrested for obstruction of justice and obstruction of justice is not an election offense,” Jimenez told ABS-CBN News. “That will not affect his candidacy in the short term.”