‘Don’t sell your vote’: Vote buying feared as national elections near

September 30, 2021 - 9:08 PM
Vote buying
Bills handed in envelopes in this undated photo. (The STAR/Boy Santos/File Photo)

As the 2022 national elections near, concerns over possible vote-buying during campaign period are heightening.

A Reddit user on Wednesday shared a graphic on r/Philippines, a subreddit for posts and discussions related to the country, with the caption: “Just a simple reminder for the upcoming elections.”

The graphic features a picture of a hand inserting a voting ballot in a box with the following words written on it: “Say NO to vote buying.”

It also features a graphic of a digital gift card with the “no” symbol.

“Your vote is not a gift certificate. Your vote is your future,” a text reads.

Vote buying is when aspiring public officials give out cash to voters especially during the campaign period in exchange for potentially securing their votes instead of letting them decide their preferred bets on their own.

Last month, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said she would seek the help of experts to monitor vote-buying via money transfer systems like GCash which could be used to manipulate the elections.

She warned politicians and supporters with such plans that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas “has the power and the capacity to trace this vote-buying” system.

Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar also warned of the possibility since cashless transactions have become popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will build mechanisms to deal with this. But it will be a big help if we citizens, ourselves, will report these kinds of schemes to authorities. I urge the public to be vigilant and report to authorities if they have information on vote-buying done through online platforms,” he said last June.

“Let’s remember that politicians who buy votes have no good intentions for the country and only look after selfish interests. Once they are elected, they will certainly amass what they shelled out for your votes,” Eleazar added.

Vote-buying and vote-selling are violations under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code and can be punished with imprisonment, disqualification from public office, deprivation of the right to vote and fines.