Reminders about ballot secrecy once again surfaced amid endorsement reports days before the elections.
A Twitter user on Tuesday shared an old post of Director James Jimenez, spokesperson of the Commission on Elections, who reminded voters that no one else can know the contents of their respective ballots.
“A daily reminder for everyone!!! #KakampINC,” the user wrote.
The post has earned over 8,000 likes and more than 2,000 retweets as of this writing. It reads:
“Walang makakabasa ng laman ng balota mo. Huwag maniniwala sa mga nanakot na nagsasabing kaya nilang ma-diskubre kung sino ang binoto mo. Nagsisinungaling ‘yang mga ‘yan para mapilitan kang iboto ang mga manok nila. Huwag magpalinlang. #VoterEd #NLE2019”
The quote was from Jimenez, who included the hashtags “#VoterEd” which refers to voter education, a campaign of Comelec, and “#NLE2019” which refers to the 2019 national and local elections.
— Luffy, the man who will become the king pirates🌸 (@vrncrstbl) May 3, 2022
The Twitter post comes amid the endorsement of the leadership of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) of the tandem of presidential bet Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for the elections.
It also endorsed senatorial aspirants who are mostly under the electoral alliance “UniTeam” slate.
The group, which is estimated to have 3 million members, is known for its practice of bloc-voting or encouraging its members to vote according to its leaders’ endorsements.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that reminders about ballot secrecy have surfaced.
Last month, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto‘s 2019 post also gained buzz after Filipinos commented on it and reminded each other to vote according to their conscience.
The city chief also reshared Jimenez’s tweet before the 2019 elections, when he was running for the mayoral seat of Pasig against then-reelectionist Pasig City Mayor Bobby Eusebio.
“‘Wag niyo ibenta kinabukasan ng mga anak at magiging apo niyo,” a Facebook user wrote in the comments last month.
“Huwag paloko sa mga manloloko. Bumoto ayon sa gusto mo. Iboto ang mga matitinong pulitiko at huwag ibenta ang boto mo,” another Filipino said recently.
Voters are given folders to cover their ballots during the elections. They are also not allowed to take a picture of the shaded ballot or post the voting receipt online.
Section 195 of the Omnibus Election Code also prohibits voters from exhibiting its contents to any person.
Comelec Region 7 Spokesperson Ferdinand Gujilde explained that such measures are done to protect the sanctity and security of the ballots for a fair electoral process.
“We have to protect the sanctity and secrecy of the ballots. The sanctity and the secrecy of the ballots mean that nobody can force a voter to divulge the names of candidates he or she voted for, not even the court, not even the Supreme Court,” he said.