By LIEUTENANT COLONEL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
Wednesday, 01 September 2010
The Marines guarding polling precincts in a school in Patikul,
Sulu during the May 2010 elections who turned down the bribe
offered by campaign leaders and supporters were awarded the
Philippine Marine Corps Plaque. In a ceremony on 4 August 2010
at the Headquarters of Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 (MBLT-5)
in Brgy Buhanginan, Patikul, MGEN JUANCHO M SABBAN AFP, then
Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps presented the award
to the team of 2LT MARCELO FLORES PN(M). 2LT Flores of MBLT-5
and his 15-men team were deployed to Kaumpang Elementary School
to provide security during the election on 10 May 2010.
The team of 2LT Flores were reportedly approached by campaign
leaders and supporters of local candidates and offered them money.
They wanted the Marines to leave the school to let the unscrupulous
politicians to fill up the remaining ballots for their favored
candidates. As narrated by Pfc Rhomel C Divina PN(M) who was posted
at the Maligay polling precinct, a campaign leader approached him
and offered him P100,000.00. In a true display of Marine discipline
and uprightness, Pfc Divina told turned down the offer saying “Hindi
mababayaran ng pera mo ang serbisyo ko.” Divina’s precinct had more
than 300 unfilled ballots.
In another instance, SSgt William C Magpili PN(M) who was posted at
the Baunoh Bangkal precinct was told “ Sarge kami na’ng bahala sa
inyo, ma fill upan lang ang natitirang balota.” SSgt Magpili also
turned down the offer. Over 100 ballots were not yet filled at
Magpili’s precinct that time.
In a fitting recognition of their deed, a Plaque of Recognition
was presented to them the citation of which reads: “In grateful
recognition of virtues exemplifying the highest professionalism,
integrity and dedication to duty rendered to the Philippine Marine
Corps, Philippine Navy during the May 10, 2010 National and Local
Election in Jolo, Sulu which led to the honest, peaceful and orderly
conduct of the said electoral exercise thereby contributing to the
successful accomplishment of the mission of the Corps. The battalion
is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Camilo F Balutan PN(M)(GSC).