Resist Vote Buying
By far the worst disease afflicting our political system in the Philippines today is vote-buying.
The Philippines may have successfully implemented the country's first automated elections, but according to foreign observers, the same old problems of cheating and manipulation, still prevail.
Despite being condemned by the majority of Filipinos, vote buying goes on unabated.
Exploiting the poverty of many of our voters, cunning and deceitful politicians go after their votes by offering dirty money. Being poor, these voters find it hard to resist the temptation.
For these candidates, rich and moneyed after their corruption sprees, vote-buying is the only strategy they could think of to ensure victory.
While candidates called the money that they gave to voters as "goodwill money" and "sharing their blessings" it simply is an act of pure and simple vote buying.
Vote buying is rampant and done openly by some candidates and their supporters in the philippine elections.
In Eastern Visayas, practically all local candidates who ran in the elections resorted to vote buying, paying off voters amounts ranging from as low as P20 to as high as P10,000, depending on the positions they were aspiring for.
On the eve and on the day of the elections, several people could be seen in the streets, waiting for "goodwill money" from candidates.
In Eastern Samar, thousands of registered voters found themselves awash with money on Election Day as a mayoral candidate dangled P10,000 for each voter.
Some of them even received more than P10,000 as they also received money from the other camp.
Massive vote buying was also noted in one town in Leyte where the amount ranged from P2,500 up to P5,000.
Tacloban City voters also had their share of the bounty from candidates.
P20,000 PER VOTE
IN SAMAR VILLAGE
Philippines-Election fraud is getting more expensive, it appears, for candidates bent on winning at all costs, even in a village with just 400 voters.
During special elections in just one village in Pagsanghan, Samar, election officials reported receiving information that votes were being bought by candidates for mayor for as high as P20,000 each.
The candidates were offering voters amounts ranging from P10,000 to P20,000 each.
There were cases that some of the voters were asked to leave the village and not to cast their votes in exchange for money..
Residents of the village were willing to speak on condition of anonymity that both camps in the town's races were offering each voter up to P20,000 but no one would formally acknowledge that he or she has received money in exchange for votes.
Comelec could not act on the vote-buying reports because no one has submitted a formal report to them.
COMELEC DOES NOTHING
Vote-buying is prohibited under Section 261, Article 22 of the Omnibus Election Code. Violation carries a penalty of not less than a year to six years in prison, disqualification from holding public office and disqualification from voting.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is duty-bound to safeguard the integrity of elections. It has the power to disqualify candidates who engage in vote-buying.
Vote buying is an election offense according to Comelec rules, but the commission has yet to prosecute a single candidate for vote buying.
Yet, even if candidates are widely known to be buying votes, it does nothing concrete to catch the offenders, much less to punish them.
Many voters are frustrated by the lack of action on the part of government in dealing with such blatant violations of the Omnibus Election Code, the law governing elections in the country.
Comelec says that they can't do anything about the illegal practice unless an individual who received money would submit a formal report to the commission.
HOW TO REPORT BUYING AND SELLING OF VOTES TO THE AUTHORITIES?
• Every individual who received money for his/her vote has to report to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
• Every individual who receives money from a candidate in order to distribute it to voters to buy their votes has to report this to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
• Evidence is vital - so if possible the act should be substantiated with photos and/or videos.
• But even without evidence, report violators of the law! Stop greedy politicians from destroying our country !!
• Don't remain silent .. !! Fight Corruption !!
COMMISION ON ELECTIONS
Atty. Edwin P. Mendoza
6500 Tacloban City
NATIONAL BUREAU OF
EASTERN VISAYAS REGIONAL OFFICE
Antonio M. Pagatpat
Sto. Niño Ext.
6500 Tacloban City